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#Resist: A Protester’s Kit

by Ioana Pelehatăi

“Guys, they approved the O.U.G!” I was at a bar, in the heart of Pantelimon, sipping on a Tuesday’s night wine. It was around 22:00 and the news spread fast, in just three minutes. And then there was silence, and people stared into their phones. In about 25 minutes, I was in front of the Government building, in a skirt with four friends in tow. I was jumping and shouting. In an hour, I could no longer feel my legs. The next day, though, I could feel my ovaries.

To prepare for the following day’s protests, I did a bit of crowdsourcing with my friends and the usual suspects I’ve known since 2012, via Roșia Montană, #colectiv and up until now. I questioned journalists, mothers, NGO workers, corporate people and other protesters: what do I need to have on me, for a successful protest? I found out that a pair of fluffy insoles costs just 12 lei; that a certain sporting goods chain store has a discount on thermal T shirts; that this app allows you to communicate with your friends even without reception or data on your phone. And then there was also this advice, which I had seen before, given by my fellow protesters who proposed an alternative reaction to violence:

“In the event made by the Corruption Kills Facebook page, the organizers left a few tips for defending against agitators. Check them out. The most important and also the most practical is this:

8. “If an idiot/group of idiots start throwing objects at the buildings/task force with the intent of starting a riot, everybody duck, so the idiots who started it can be highly visible. When everybody is crouching on the ground, any idiot who throws a bottle will be as visible as the Mona Lisa. Thus, their strategy to start a riot will fail”.

Haha!

See you on the streets”.

So, we #resist, and here are some useful things for that:

Short guide to protesting, put together based on my own experience:

  • “Cover yourself up, you’ll catch a cold” sweater,
  • “Have some tea, so you won’t freeze” thermos,
  • “toes in the oven” wool socks,
  • two hats, one for my friend who is too proud to wear one and comes to protests wearing next to nothing,
  • “we’ll be alright” pills,
  • “they’ll think we’re fools again, I can bet on it” gloves,
  • cat wallet, as a good luck charm, where you can hide your ID card,
  • “we’re live on Facebook” phone charger,
  • a turtle-neck for another freezing, but fashionable friend,
  • a backpack with what appears to be polka dots, but are actually lots of dots from all that dotting the i’s.

See you tonight in Victoria Square. Go get ‘em! (Laura Ionescu, head copywriter)

This is the kit from when I go out to protest with the kid. I’ve also been on my own. For the child, you will need a Sippy cup with water, a banana and some thick socks – when I go alone, I’m a bit of a minimalist :)

I remember it so well when my parents used to carry me on their shoulders for the University Square protests. Imnul Golanilor is one of my first memories. I want my son to grow up and be the same as I am: free. And I’ve been trying for years not to emigrate, because I am certain that we can change Romania. (Corina Murafa, expert on energy policies)

Anti tear gas scarf, hat and gloves (my good hat is in the wash), external battery (I wasn’t the one who chose the color), a smartphone for live broadcasts, cigarettes for the tear gas breaks, camera, the best pretzels ever and water. Aside from this, two pairs of socks, three pullovers and my jacket. (Andreea Retinschi, photographer)

  • Scarf,
  • thermos,
  • water,
  • external battery,
  • the Constitution,
  • markers,
  • gloves,
  • car keys.

(Cosmin Pojoranu & Alina Calistru, Funky Citizens)

Some tea in a thermos, gloves, a warm patch I was considering gifting, and a megaphone. On Tuesday night, I left the house not at all ready to spend a few hours in the cold. And I wasn’t the only one freezing, so I thought that I would prepare better, this time. (Paul Popescu, Modulab)

Two pairs of gloves, with and without fingers. A hat and all that comes with the territory. Ah, and the tights that I already had on. Some hot tea in a thermos, a phone charger and a power bank for the recordings, a head scarf (from Miliția Spirituală, the place where I learned the rules to a street protest), a wallet with money and ID, band aids (I always have them on me), cardboard and markers to create banners. Today I think I’ll make a bandana with #noviolence #resist. (Irina Dobriță, NGO PR)

  • Gloves and a scarf, otherwise your mother will see you on the TV and you’ll shut Dragnea up faster then you would her.
  • Cigarettes, so that you increase the PSD budget.
  • A smartphone to read what’s online. A less smart phone to talk, send texts and possibly use as a weapon. A battery for the two, ‘cause you never know when you get home.
  • A selection of instruments that produce an infernal noise. You can get quite creative with just a triola or a harmonica. A bike horn cost just 1 leu in Auchan.

(Sergiu V. Vasile, Utopia Balcanică)

Scarf, hat, gloves – all color coordinated, to fight against the visual pollution. The smallest camera with the smallest lens, a phone, a large external battery and a small external battery. (Adi Bulboacă, photographer)

Some police officers were taking down the mobile fences, others were sending people home. With a calm demeanor, like waiters who wanted to close the bar and were putting the chairs on tables. I had my last sip of whisky and made my way down on Victoriei. I stopped at Starbucks and got a double espresso. I spent 15 minutes there, enjoying the support of the people around me, all frozen and fresh from the protests themselves.

I film due to a journalistic reflex and because I hope that the images make an impact on people. I’ve went back and forth between two cameras, due to various reasons. Reasons that have become irrelevant as soon as I got there. (Bogdan Theodor Olteanu, from SUB25)


Translated from the Romanian by Cristina Costea

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