Protest election, attend Biden celebration safely: What to expect

Celebrating Biden's win, protesting Trump's loss safely amid COVID-19: A guide on what to wear, bring and plan for

Whether you support President Donald Trump or President-elect Joe Biden, this is what to wear and plan for at celebrations and protests.

Published Updated

Americans have been gathering across the country to celebrate Joe Biden's presidential election after he won Pennsylvania on Saturday. If you are staying inside, thinking about how it all went down, check out this visual breakdown of Biden's win. If you are hitting the streets, have fun, but please follow these guidelines to help protect yourself and others:

Don't forget about the pandemic. Sorry.

Wear a N95 face mask if you can. If you don't have one, any type will help. Except a gaiter.

Learn more: How different masks stack up against COVID-19

Keep a safe distance, if possible: Resist the temptation to shout, shake hands, hug or have face-to-face conversations with fellow revelers or protesters. If you are singing and dancing, you can still try your best to stay away from others.

Follow basic safety protocols: Health officials ask those who attend protests or street celebrations to self-quarantine for two weeks. Get a COVID-19 test about five days after as a precaution.

And please, don't drink from the bottle if you are sharing a bottle of champagne!

Before you go out, make a plan.

Even at a celebration, it can be dangerous to go alone: There is safety in numbers.

Meet and plan before the event: Discuss where you plan to be and where to regroup if you get separated. Check to see if the your city will have available bathrooms, and map them out – you will be drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated.

What should you bring with you?

What should you wear?

You might be going out to party, but it is important to remember that there is still a pandemic going on, and as with any demonstration in 2020, it is possible that there could be conflict or violence of some type.

Dress in long sleeves and pants: This will help protect from tear gas or pepper spray and prevent skin irritation caused by chemical agents should things go wrong.

Don't wear contact lenses: Tear gas or pepper spray particles can get stuck between the eye and lens, causing damage. 

Bring protective gear such as goggles and face masks: If you don't have one already, you can make your own.

Know your rights.

It's best to know your rights before you attend a protest. Amnesty International suggests remembering the following:

Freedom of expression and assembly: Everyone has the right to express their opinion.

The right to free assembly: Law enforcement must facilitate and not restrict a peaceful assembly.

Freedom from excessive use of force: In nonviolent protests, police must avoid the use of force.

The American Civil Liberties Union provides a detailed list of rights and recommendations for protesters, organizers, and media. According to the ACLU, rights are strongest in "traditional public forums,” such as streets, sidewalks and parks. You can speak out in other public places, such as plazas in front of government buildings, as long as you don't block access. You can take photos of anyone or anything you see. Private property is a different story.

What to do if you are arrested

Stay calm and don't resist: Ask for a lawyer immediately and say you wish to remain silent. You don't need to make any excuses or give any explanations.

Don't say anything or make any decisions without a lawyer: If police have arrested you, you have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer. They can and often do listen if you call anyone else.

How to treat pepper spray or tear gas

Stay calm: Panicking can make the irritation worse. Don't rub your face if you get sprayed because it will spread the compound deeper into your eyes.

Start blinking immediately: This allows tears to flush away some of the oils contained in pepper spray.

Get out of the area: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends leaving the area right away when exposed to tear gas and similar riot control agents. Get to higher ground, and find fresh air quickly.

Flush with water, lots of it: "Water overall is the best treatment that people can use," says Robert Glatter, an emergency physician in New York City. He recommends using baby shampoo or diluted dishwashing soap with water to remove oils from skin.

Though many people pour milk on their face after being pepper-sprayed during protests, Glatter said that helps reduce the burning sensation but doesn't remove any of the oil.

The CDC says people should quickly take off any clothing that may have tear gas on it. If clothing, such as a shirt or sweater, needs to be pulled over the head, Glatter said, it must be cut off to limit exposure to the eyes or mouth.

People should place all removed clothes in a plastic bag and wash any tear gas from skin as quickly as possible with soap and water. They should not use soap for the eyes. For burning eyes or blurred vision, the CDC recommends rinsing eyes with plain water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Glatter said contact lenses should be removed with clean gloves, and glasses should be washed with soap and water. Glasses can be used again, but the CDC advises against reusing the contacts, even if they’re not disposable.

Though there’s no approved antidote for tear gas, Glatter said, there’s a few 真人百家家乐官网网站home remedies that could help ease the effects after exposure. He said some people use lemon juice or antacids such as Maalox water.

Learn more: How to protect yourself from chemical agents

CONTRIBUTING: Adrianna Rodriguez, Javier Zarracina, Shawn Sullivan/USA TODAY; SOURCE: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); Amnesty International; Democratic Socialists of America; USA TODAY research

Published Updated
//