It is nearly impossible to avoid close contact when protesting, and it is easy to forget the risks that comes with it. Recently, during the #EndSars protest, many Nigerians took to the streets to protest against police brutality, and to bring awareness on the issues in Nigeria. In some cases, the protests were peaceful, and in other incidences, they were chaotic and dangerous.
Although, you may attend a protest expecting it to be peaceful, this is not always the case. Protests, regardless of the intention behind them attract all types of people, each with different motives. So, things can quickly turn from an atmosphere of purpose to one of chaos.
Therefore, if you are planning to join the protest, note the following tips to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- You need to consider your household and their health. Do not risk exposing them to COVID-19, especially if they are at a higher risk.
- Inform your relatives, and people around you about where you are going.
- Try to read and understand your rights because you might be stopped by the police.
- Consider wearing a long sleeved shirt and trousers to protect your skin from chemical agents such as tear gas.
- Don’t forget to hold along the following: water, sunglasses, mask, hand sanitizer, tissue, snacks, first aid kit and face caps.
- Make sure you are aware of your environment.
- Always wear your face mask, and avoid touching your face.
- Do not shake hands, hug, share drinks or engage in long face to face conversations.
- Maintain physical distancing. This might be difficult due to the crowd present at the protest. However, try to maintain at least six feet apart from others.
- Make sure you stay hydrated by frequently drinking water.
- Avoiding sharing images of protesters on social media to protect their identities.
- If your eyes are exposed to tear gas, note the following; do not rub them; blinking and rinsing them are most effective. Also, tilt your head and rinse each eye with water.
- Change your clothes as soon as possible, shower and disinfect your belongings immediately you are home.
- You will need to make sure that you are fine. It is best to go through a medical checkup.
- Again, do not share the identities of protesters.
- Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19.
Protesting comes with varying risks depending on the area, the situation, and the cause. However, it is important to know how to stay safe in any situation, especially when you are protesting during a pandemic.