With the Live 8 weekend fast approaching I thought that in the spirit of public interest I would publish this little primer for the uninitiated. Since most of you will probably just be attending/watching the concerts there may not be much interest, but for those who have yet to get there feet wet, and are looking for some tips I thought I could finally put my years of activist activity to good use.
Did you ever Demo? You know, Demo. As in I demo, you demo, we demoed, letâ€™s go demo at, and what are they demoing about over there? Iâ€™ll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with demographics. Give up?
Demo, short for demonstration, as in protest or other organized(so to speak) gathering of folks who vaguely have a common goal in mind. Whether pro choice, pro life, anti war, pro war, for nuclear power or against it a demo was and maybe still is the thing to do when you want to go out into public and make a noise.
Demos come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small groups huddled nervously together in a clump, to large marches parading through the streets. They can be loose affiliations of disparate groups coming together for a common cause, or simply individuals with a bone to pick. Quite often they end up being a mixture of the two which leads to whatâ€™s known as a general strike.
Each generation seems to spawn its own issue for demo purposes. Almost if they all have a need to let off steam about something or other. Sometimes a theme like peace, or freedom is repeated, but the object of attention changes.
Demos can be parties celebrating life and the joy of being out with people of common mind. They can also degenerate into wild conflicts between baton wielding, pepper spraying police officers and rock hurling, epithet tossing demonstrators. Unfortunately itâ€™s hard to know at the onset how any particular demonstration will turn out.
The experienced demo participant is aware of this and takes the following precautions: Always have someone standing by with bail money in case of arrest; always bring with you a good sized handkerchief or scarf that can be used to cover the mouth and eyes in case of gas; if possible wear kidney pads so if you have to turtle under a baton attack you wonâ€™t end up pissing blood(if no pads available protect your kidneys with arms leaving your head exposed, your less likely to take a hit to the head as bloody skulls donâ€™t look good on camera and most police forces care about their images now); and finally unless your prepared too withstand most of the above mentioned abuse stay away from any fellow demo attendees whose attire includes gas masks, ski masks and goggles, or who smell strongly of gasoline.