Spécial Iran (26)
Nous évoquions hier Khiaban, le journal de rue circulant parmi les manifestants à Téhéran. Le numéro 5 daté du 23 juin comprend la première partie d’un guide à l’usage des manifestants dans le contexte actuel des combats de rue contre les fascistes, et a été traduit en anglais par le site Iran in the Gulf.
Le N°5 complet, en farsi (pdf )
Extrait en anglais :
“Street Combat Techniques”
What follows is a brief guide for keeping the street protests alive and safe, as well as slowing or halting the advance of the security forces. This column is divided into two parts, the first of which you can read today, and the second part in the next issue of the ‘Street’ newspaper.
Keep in mind that in these engagements the police are much better equipped and trained than you and I. They have the backup and immunity of the law on their side as well. Remember that when we talk about overcoming the police, we do not mean striking the police.
Do not be tempted to stay and fight. Go to those places where the security forces are absent, and you will be better able to reach your objective (chanting slogans, writing slogans, and other similar activities).
Always keep moving, whether in a group or alone. Close any gaps that form between you and other individuals. Do not stay in one place. Continuous movement will break the concentration of security forces.
The security forces are trying to break up large groups into smaller groups. Try to compel the security forces to break down their formations before they have the opportunity to form them.
Do not be afraid.
Any actions you carry out should be done in small groups, and you should anticipate what and where the action will be.
Maintain a defensive mindset. Look out after one another.
Always keep yourself faced in the direction of the security forces.
Lock your arms together and form human chains. Keep moving briskly but without any commotion or agitation. Do not give the police an opportunity to plan and react.
Staying out of prison and the hospital is not a very difficult thing. Most of the people involved in the street protests will be able to accomplish this. The point is that, with some foresight, you can turn the skills for staying alive under such conditions into a guide for surviving under these conditions.
Objectives of Gatherings:
At the end of a day of rioting and clashes, it is not about someone being declared the victor of the battlefield. What is important is that you remain safe, and you will reach some of your objectives. On this topic, the main objectives you should keep in mind are:
1. Instead of fighting, keep yourself and your friends safe from dangerous situations.
2. Find a way to accomplish your objectives (chanting slogans, etc.) without wasting your energy on fighting
3. Help people who have been wounded or arrested. Keep your thoughts on providing first aid and rescuing your friends from the police, not on fighting.
Stay together in groups. At least every two people can look out for one another and, when necessary, react in tandem. Our idea of a united group is several known and skilled individuals, capable of acting as a single unit, anticipating the development of any alarming situations, and making swift decisions about how to react or carry out any preplanned scenarios. The more days your group has been together, the less time required for decision-making and the more efficient you are. Such groups will be able to act without discussion or consultation, because over time they will develop signals and rapid warning systems and even implements for clashes and self-defense. Carrying water, batons, paint, cardboard for making protest signs, first aid, and extra clothes is a tough job for one person, but if divided among five people, then it is a different case. Pay heed to how you dress. No one is expecting you to go out onto the streets with your armor and helmet, but in any case your clothes should be appropriate for the weather. Keep in mind the following:
1. Covering your face with a mask or something else will prevent security forces from identifying you in the coming days. For this purpose, you can take a sleeve from a long-sleeve t-shirt and wrap it around your neck like a tied scarf – to cover your face when needed. You can cut out some holes in it for your eyes just enough to be able to see.
2. A baton or rod is not a bad thing either. A plastic sign can also serve as a good temporary shield. Plastic ribbons fastened to your forearms will also be useful, but your best means of defense will be a pair of comfortable running shoes.
3. Teargas is not a good thing at all. Some say that fermentation pills will reduce its effect, but this is not something you want to borrow from someone on the street. Some say a lot of rinsing with water will help. Whatever you do, refrain from rubbing the inflamed areas or taking a warm shower. If you are unsure of the best antidote, let the flow of air remove its effect. The effect can linger for 20 minutes.
4. One of you should take up position to observe the security forces and report in advance on their movements or assaults.
5. Throwing things often does nothing to harm the police, but it does give them a pretext to take a more severe approach. If you have to throw something, it should be to prevent any forward movement of security forces (like throwing glass to prevent security forces from closing in), not to harm them. In any case, if something has to be thrown, it should be undertaken by those on the front line.
6. If you are setting up barricades in the street to prevent security forces from advancing, be careful that afterwards you do not get your hands or feet caught. Use things that will impede attacks by men on motorcycles or require the police to break their discipline as they try to pass through them, while allowing you easy passage.
7. If you encounter any disciplined security forces like anti-riot police, the best line of defense is to remain unfixed and constantly change your location and formation. Movements that are easily detected and predictable are not an option when dealing with these forces. Never stay in one place for more than one minute.
Movements of the security forces:
The goal of the police is always to disperse the crowd at the soonest possible moment. This is done with batons and teargas. Uncontrolled forces of the police sometimes charge the crowd directly, but usually there is a time lag between the arrival of security forces to the location and the onset of dispersal operations. This break in time is used by security forces to assess the situation and by the police commander to decide on a course of action.
In addition, there are usually only three other explanations for the lack of an immediate attack:
Initially, the security forces divide the crowd into two groups, ‘agents’ and ‘onlookers’. Small groups of police forces enter the crowd and politely steer the more timid people to the sidewalk. As soon as the crowd has moved into their view, those small groups of police merge back into larger groups. Once you realize that the crowd has been divided into two groups on both sides of the sidewalk and surrounded by a larger group of police, you should expect the beginning of suppression and/or:
You do not resist, only watch them. You do not allow them to get closer. Find gaps in the crowd and fill them. Anticipate which empty space they want to take advantage of, and fill it with your fellow demonstrators. Take the large signs from the front lines and use them to prevent the police from moving forward or taking your photo. Keep escape routes open by taking up position along them. Rescue those people caught on the sidewalks and return them to the crowd, and take cover in the crowd.
At this stage, they will charge you with their batons, but you are in a better position to defend yourself and escape. Do not wait for more action from them. If the space between you and them is large, you have an opportunity to escape, and you should use it. Even if they are close to you, you still have not been crushed. You have a little time before the police attack and disperse the crowd. Use this time to move away en masse. Your movement en masse is undesirable for them. (Never wait for their next move. Take the initiative and do what is necessary.)
If they block the only path of egress, try these methods:
According to this method, your lines have to move towards their lines and, in this way, create more space and open more paths of egress. With arms interlocked, advance calmly and form your forward line like a solid wall. A row of crowd control barriers – wooden or plastic barriers erected to stop the advance of the crowd – can be used by the forward line to break the police line. When the police line has broken, as the forward line is driving a wedge into the police line, arrange the barriers into two sets of connected barriers, thereby forcing the police behind the barriers to two sides. This task requires an abundance of coordination and efficiency. But overcoming the police in this way does not require a lot of time, so get out from between the barriers and escape quickly.
Use your body
Your body is your best and most malleable tool. It is most effectively used when in coordination with other means. Passing 20 people through a wall takes a lot of time, but two people are sufficient to bend down next to the wall and tie their elbows together, and two more people can kneel down side-by-side at their feet – creating a human ladder. (Those waiting to climb the wall can interlock their elbows to form a protective ring around the ladder.) Always look for ways to use your body to escape.
Reform and recovery of community
Always look for ways to increase your numbers. Ally yourself with other groups and recruit people who are homeless. Everyone should always go out together at the same time, so that you will have a better chance of escaping without being hurt and without losing your equipment.