Protest Safely: How to Fight Tear Gas Effects on the Body

by Uche Onegeria 3 Jun , 2016  


Hi all, 

It is 9.17 pm (3.17 am in Nigeria) now and I have not really published much recently because I am just confused at what is currently happening in Nigeria. I know that there are different sides to every story but while I wait to confirm who might be wrong in the whole Biafran protest Versus Nigerian Army situation, lives are being lost. And every life is precious.

Iwacu/ Soledad Urakeza

I will not use my platform to promote hate against anyone, so if you are expecting that from me, you will be waiting for a very long time for that to happen.

What I can do is to share legal information to enable you be safe while you go on your various peaceful quests. I am not in Nigeria so if you will know 1 thing; I stand for the truth and will say it the way I see it. If you abuse me for not spewing hate and anger here (just like most people have), you have to remember that people have different life experiences. Sometimes, even my siblings and I hold strongly different opinions but we still co-exist peacefully. You have enough people on your side so let me do something no one else is doing.

I also published this post a few days ago 10 Ways to Effectively Organize a Peaceful Protest in Nigeria

When you set out to protest, expect that the police might try to disperse your group using “tear gas”. Emphasis on “tear” as it literally makes you cry. It does not kill you and it is used all over the world to control protests.
Tear gas is a chemical weapon that causes the effects below:
Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs, and causes crying, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, pain in the eyes, and temporary blindness. (Source: Wikipedia)

How it is used
Tear gas usually is delivered in the form a grenade, which is fitted onto the end of a gas gun and fired with a blank shotgun cartridge.
How do you know when it is fired
1. You will hear shots being fired. You are not being shot at. Do not panic.
2. Try and locate the cannister avoid it because they often explode in the air to release the gas and its container.
3. This container will be hot, so do not touch it.
4. Do not pick up an unexploded tear gas canister because it could explode and injure you.

How to fight or minimize its effects

1. Wear a Gas Mask

2. Soak a bandana or paper towel in lemon juice or cider vinegar and store it in a plastic bag. You can breathe through the acidified cloth for several minutes, which should give you sufficient time to get enough air to escape the area.
Source: Wikipedia

3. If you do not have goggles or any mask, you can breathe the air inside your shirt, since there is less air circulation and therefore a lower concentration of the gas. This will not work when your shirt becomes saturated.

Source: dailymail

4. Make your own gas mask 🙂
Note; Tear gas is popularly used to disperse protests. The police is not wrong for using this. In fact, it would be wise to expect this and be prepared for it. What is wrong is if they start shooting at all…Shooting at or around any peaceful rally IS WRONG!!

Sources: chemistry.about.comwikipedia

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