Affinity groups are self-sufficient support systems of about 5 to 15 people. A number of affinity groups may work together toward a common goal in a large action, or one affinity group might conceive of and carry out an action on its own. Sometimes, affinity groups remain together over a long period of time, existing as political support and/or study groups, and only occasionally participating in actions. (Act Up)

Affinity groups for mass actions are often formed during nonviolence training sessions. It is a good idea to meet with your affinity group a few times before an action to get to know them if you are not already friends, and to discuss issues such as noncooperation and relationship to the legal system, the role your group will play (in a large action), etc. After an action, it is also helpful to meet with your group to evaluate and share experiences.


Lead at a slow pace, keep march moving steadily, watch for obstructions, help facilitate civil disobedience, if any occurs.


Bring up the rear, set the pace, make sure no one gets left behind.


Block traffic at intersections (facing cars), Groups of 4 or 5 wait for the red light (when cars have stopped) and quickly slide out, holding hands, and face the cars; Bikes help


Be responsible for negotiating with the police for First Amendment rights.
Provide legal info to protestors
Make a confidential list with the following information:
Name of arrestee Name used for arrest
· Whether or not individual wants to bail out, and when.
· Who arrestee would like contacted and under what circumstances.
· Special medical information or other special needs info.
· Whether the individual plans to cooperate, and in what ways.
· Whether the person is a minor.
· Whether the person wants/needs a lawyer. (act Up)


Coordinate with media


Walkie-talkies updating Google Maps if possible, letting riotersknow in real time where police are moving.


Medics- wagons- way to carry medicine(water) and people


Protective Supplies:

  1. Skin: Cover as much as possible preferably with impermeable clothing like rain gear Most cloth will absorb the chemicals further exposing you even when you are out of the toxic cloud. Some materials, like gore-tex or fuzzy synthetics, will be destroyed. Synthetic fibers are better to wear (Ex. Nylon, Acrylic, Polyester). Heavy-duty gloves if you plan to handle hot tear gas canisters.
  2. Change of Clothes: Incase your clothes are contaminated and you need to change.
  3. Gas Mask or Eye Protection: swimming goggles(with shatter-proof lenses and no foam), sun glasses  (REMOVE YOUR CONTACTS They must be removed immediately with clean fingers and discarded.)
  4. Airway: respirators, bandana over the nose and mouth will help Some protesters wear bandanas wet with vinegar (preferably apple cider because it is less irritating), lemon juice, or water with Emergen-C, because it is believed that will counter the tear gas effects better than water, however the use of acidic coatings on the bandana may actually be harmful when exposed.

Medical Supplies:

  1. Saline Solution – to rinse eyes
  2. Baby shampoo
  3. Certainly wear vinyl or nitrile gloves  (Do not use latex: latex allergies are prevalent and serious)
  • Do not rub eyes or skin
  • Encourage those affected to STAY CALM. Panicking increases the irritation. Breathe slowly and remember it is only temporary.
  • Some of the OC and CS will remain in the respiratory system, but a recovery of vision and the coordination of the eyes can be expected within 7 to 15 minutes.[19]
  • Be aware of positional asphyxia – almost all pepper spray related deaths occur when the victim has been hogtied and placed face-down.
  • Breathing difficulties are treated by administering oxygen and in some cases using medication that are used to treat asthma.
  • Capsaicin is not soluble in water, and even large volumes of water will not wash it off. In general, victims are encouraged to blink vigorously in order to encourage tears, which will help flush the irritant from the eyes.

There are also wipes, manufactured[18] for the express purpose of serving to decontaminate someone having received a dose of pepper spray.

Keep in mind that tear gas will form a heavy vapor cloud that will settle close to the ground.

If your clothes are contaminated it is essential to remove them immediately and shower.

Until then, DON’T touch your eyes, nose, mouth, face, other people, furniture, carpets, pets, etc. to avoid further contamination

Keep contaminated clothing in the bag as evidence until you have talked with a legal support person from the American Civil Liberties Union ([www.aclu.org/]) or the National Lawyer’s Guild ([www.nlg.org/])

If clothes are heavily contaminated cut them off if necessary to prevent further irritation of the eyes/nose/mouth/skin.

Shower using the coldest water you can stand (to keep your pores from opening) for 20 minutes.


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