Resisting, avoiding and adapting to police tactics

An excellent guide to public order situations – vital reading:


which contains the great suggestion that “Temporary stationary demonstrations which are disruptive but disperse the moment the cops arrive confound police organisation.” Also, the general suggestion that if kettled, protesters must “become a community” – talk to each other, share supplies, discuss tactics and work together.

It also contains links to a 6-part series of articles on the police’s Public Disorder tactics:

These are quite lengthy, and if you’re only going to read one (although I recommend them all) I think the last of these is the one most important for protesters “on the ground”. It covers shield maneouvers, mounted police, police dogs, “snatch squads”, baton charges, tactical use of vehicles (including driving vans through the crowd), smoke grenades, plastic bullets and CS gas.

I also found this translation of 9 pages from the Egyptian revolutionary pamphlet “How to protest intelligently”.

And finally, a random tip from the miners’ protests back in the 80’s for discouraging mounted police charges: have a few handfuls of marbles in your pockets, and accidentally drop them in your rush to get out of the way. Horses really don’t like feeling the ground slide around under them. Obviously, it won’t work on the grass of Hyde Park, but in the streets it could be very effective.

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This book, “Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching” (7.2MB) is specifically aimed at those committing sabotage in defense of the environment. It is somewhat old, and US-biased. However, it contains vast amounts of useful information for anyone considering taking direct action. I particularly like the sections on disabling vehicles – we know how much the police rely on their vans!

Here is a heavily reduced contents list:

Chapter 1: Strategic Monkeywrenching
Chapter 2: The Future of Monkeywrenching
Chapter 3: Developments
Chapter 4: Roads and Tire
Road Spiking
Where to Place Road Spikes
Advanced Road Spiking
Spikeboards and Nailboards
How to Make Caltrops
Other Tire Flattening Methods
Roofing Nails
Valve Core Extractor
Slashing Tires
Closing Roads
Chapter 5: Vehicles and Heavy Equipment
Disabling Motor Vehicles of All Kinds
Heavy Equipment
Other Sabotage Methods
Related Targets
Security And Heavy Equipment
Burning Machinery
Pros And Cons Of Burning
Igniting Machinery
Preparing A Machine For Burning
Getting Diesel Fuel
Delayed Ignition
Vehicle Modifications for the Serious Monkeywrencher
Chapter 7: Miscellaneous Deviltry
Urban Monkeywrenching
Attack on an Urban Residence
Private Automobiles
Attacks on Corporate Offices
The “Daring Daylight Raid”
Fun With Slingshots
Stink Bombs
Stink Grenade
Smoke Bombs
Smoke In Their Eyes!
Jamming Locks
Disrupting Illegal Activities
Trash Return
Chapter 8: Propaganda
Advanced Billboarding
Target Selection
Other Targets
Chain Saw
Billboard Trashing
Billboard Revision
Burning Billboards
Paint Remover
Etching Cream
Posters and Silent Agitators
Spray Paint Slogans
Chapter 9: Security
Basic Security
Target Selection
The Team
Night Operations
Military Movement
Direction and Distance
Alternate Assembly Areas
Silent Communication
Rules of Security
Disposing of Evidence
No Evidence
Written Records
Avoiding Arrest
Light Reflections
Vehicle Camouflage
Tools of the Trade
Radios and Communications Equipment
Cellular Telephones
Eyes of Night
Standard Optics
Infrared Spotting Scope
Starlight Scope
Thermal Imager
Protection From Night Vision Surveillance
Bionic Ear
Car Camping
Daily Routine
Run repeated surveillance checks before any mission
Mental Conditioning
Anti-Bugging Devices
Electronic Surveillance
FBI Updates Eavesdropping Methods
Approaching A Forest Site
Automobile Trailing
Drug Searches
Advanced Investigation Methods
DNA “Fingerprinting”
Ultraviolet Tracing
Advanced Fingerprinting Techniques
State-Of-The-Art Video Surveillance
Telephone Monitoring
Police Undercover Operations
The Undercover Infiltrator
Going Undercover
Undercover Tactics
Private Undercover Operations
Confidential Informants
Defense Against Undercover Activities
Double Agents
Exposing Undercover Agents
Background Check on Suspected Infiltrators
Combination Locks
Closed-Circuit Television
Guard Dogs
Pursuit and Evasion
Vehicular Pursuit
Self Defense
Cross-Country Evasion
If You Are Arrested
Media Relations
Advanced Communiqué Sending
BLM Procedure for Ecotage Letters
Telephone Contacts
Advanced Telephone Contacts
Personal Interviews

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Plan B

“Lester Brown tells us how to build a more just world and save the planet … in a practical, straightforward way. We should all heed his advice.” – President Bill Clinton

“A great book about ways to improve the environment and sustain economic progress.” – St. Petersburg Times

There’s been a lot of talk about the need for a “Plan B”. Fortunately, an intelligent chap has been working on this for years now.

Food, economics, energy, social justice, and the environment. The newly updated fourth edition of this magnificent book (1.1MB) tackles the problems facing us, and lays out the possible solutions.

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Sukey (take the kettle off)

“Fleeing riot police on foot? There’s an app for that …”

From their website,
Sukey is our name for a set of applications designed to keep you protected and informed during protests. When you see something interesting, you tell us. When we’re confident that something has actually happened, we tell you.

They’re also on Facebook.
And yes, there’s a version that works by SMS, so you don’t have to have a smartphone to use it.

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Managing your shit

Whether stuck in a kettle for 10 hours, or occupying Hyde Park for the weekend, cramming (hopefully!) over 100,000 people into the streets and parks of London is going to require toilets. Remember, some people were stuck in Tahrir Square for 18 days! And managing our own shit will make it a more pleasant experience for us, as well as just being a good example of self-organised civilisation.

So, here’s a good resource: The Humanure Handbook
There’s a PDF to download the whole book or you can just read the section most relevant to us: the sawdust toilet

Basically, for those who can’t even be arsed (no pun intended!) to read that, you need a big (5 gallon?) bucket, and a load of organic material; rotted sawdust, peat moss, leaf mould, rice hulls, or grass clippings. Even shredded paper, although it’s not the best.

It would be really handy if we could find someone in London who could stockpile a garage full of buckets in the next month or so. Restaurants and fast-food places often get rid of dozens of them at a time, so it should be possible to scavenge hundreds before the big weekend.

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How Nonviolence Protects the State

Shamelessly copied from Wikipedia:
In “How Nonviolence Protects the State” Gelderloos sets out to “[debunk] the notion that non-violent activism is the only acceptable and effective method of struggle.”

A 111-page book, in either booklet format (1.2MB, good for printing but annoying to read on screen) or normal (0.7MB, in standard page order).
Some reviews, shamelessly copied from this Amazon page:

“As a nonviolent activist, perhaps I should have been offended by the title of Peter Gelderloos’ new book, How Nonviolence Protects the State, or by chapter headings like ‘Nonviolence is Deluded.’ And yet upon finishing this book, which attempts to systematically tear down many of the values and strategies to which I’ve devoted the last 20 years of my life, I found myself strangely exhilarated: the revolution is alive.” — Sue Frankel-Streit, review on Richmond IMC

“Instead of always assuming that a particular choice is morally superior, activists have to constantly reevaluate their tactics and critically examine how they act, a process that could be aided by a reading of How Nonviolence Protects the State.” — Grand Rapids IMC

“Peter Gelderloos’s How Nonviolence Protects the State, finishes off where Ward Churchill’s classic, Pacifism as Pathology, began. In this indictment, he makes a strong argument for the diversity of tactics, while illuminating how the ideology of pacifism leads us not to social justice, but rather, the peace one finds in cemeteries. A ‘must read’ for revolutionaries struggling to be effective against the government’s ‘War on Terror,’ in which one person’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.” — Ann Hansen, Author, Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerilla

“Peter’s exploration of how power is upheld by the privileged through ideological nonviolence challenges white middle class activists to question if they are truly committed to solidarity with oppressed peoples.” — Jason Lydon, Congregational Director, Community Church of Boston

“Thoroughly-researched and extremely well-argued, How Nonviolence Protects the State is a potent antidote to the insufferably self-serving sanctimony which has for far too long been able to pass itself off as a ‘principled opposition’ in the United States. Essential reading for anyone seriously committed to the attainment of constructive change.” — Ward Churchill, Author, Pacifism as Pathology

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Bodyhammer: Tactics and self-defense for the modern protester

This is a short (23 page) booklet which I think is very worth a read.

Bodyhammer: Tactics and self-defense for the modern protester


Technology has changed the street protest. In centuries past, a mass of people wishing to express themselves could only be silenced by live gunfire. But the advent of riot armor, lachrymatory gases and “less-lethal” projectiles have allowed ruling establishments to squelch the voice of protesters with great ease, and even better PR.

It is the interest of this booklet to help preserve our freedoms of speech and public movement in expressing ourselves. The objective is not to ‘up the ante’ or encourage street battles. No one sets out to engage the police or the army. We are on the streets to be seen and heard, but find it ever more difficult as arrests and injuries from policing forces aim to shut our voices out of the general equation.

One benefit of our modern and wasteful mass consumption society is that it allows us to protect ourselves from these forces. We have the material and the means to defend our protests and to keep the police at a distance. Our method is self-defence. We march with a mission and should those in power order others to stop us, we have a right to defend our bodies as much as our message.

This book was written to help preserve the freedom of movement and assembly.

Part 1: Shield varieties and construction
Part 2: Shield employment
Part 3: Shield varieties, their construction, and other equipment
Part 4: Group movement situations
Part 5: Shield wall formations and tactics


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Facebook pages

A few Facebook pages which might help you keep up to date with the latest protest news and plans:
UK Uncut
Coalition of Resistance
Stay 4 1 day
If there are any others which I should know about, email me on

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The Green and Black Cross

A phone number we should all have when attending any protests – 07946 541511, the helpline of the Green and Black Cross, “Supporting grassroots environmental and social justice struggles”.

Briefly, for those who can’t be bothered to click though, they have 3 wings. Legal Support, Street Medics, and Action Kitchens.

So write down the number, visit their website, and support them if you can, because they might be the ones getting you out of jail, giving you first aid, or making you food and tea during a long cold night of protest!


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The Secret Rally that Sparked an Uprising

Of course a lot of the inspiration for this blog has come from watching the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Here’s a good article about how they first managed to take Tahrir Square, even in the face of police more brutal than the Met!

The Secret Rally that Sparked an Uprising

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