This is a very flexible subject, as the scope of mob action is limited only by its motivating factors; the arms, supplies and other materials available; the number and type of the individual mob elements; and whether or not trained agitators are present to direct the action.
The location of the action also plays an important part, as the activities of the mob itself and its capabilities for violence will be limited by the space available for movement and maneuver. The size of the city square, direction and width of the streets entering into it, and the location and type of buildings will also affect the course of action, in the same manner as does terrain on the battlefield. Temperature and other climatic factors have influence. For instance, cold, rainy weather has a slowing down effect on mob activities, movement, and organization.
The tactics employed against the police will also indicate, to the trained observer, the nature of the mob leadership and degree of professional organization present. Evidence of advance preparation would be previously prepared handbills and posters, possession of weapons of types and quantities not normally available to mob members, and simultaneous yet coordinated incitation by agitators strategically locatcd throughout the mob.
Abuse. Police elements can be subjected to both verbal and written abuse. Taunts, ridicule, jeers, and obscene remarks and shouts are to be expected. Derogatory pamphlets or handbills may be distributed to the crowd and to bystanders before and during the action. Propaganda may be sent to the police units themselves or distributed in a clandestine manner before and during the disturbance. Posters may be carried depicting police brutality, or <lemanding vengeance for past acts. Sound trucks or agitators using hand-powered transistortype megaphones may be used to direct the mob and to heap abuse on the police units in an attempt to demoralize them. Slogans and derogatory material may be painted on the sidewalks, buildings, vehicles, and other likely places.
Noise. A large mob action is always noisy. The shouts, cries, and chants of the mob members are usually supplemented by the use of fireworks, noise makers, sirens, and whistles. Very effective use has been made of chants or the shouting of slogans in a definite rhythm pattern, sometimes aided by whistles and drums. This type of crowd incitement is very effective when well organized and directed. Rioters sing songs of an inflammatory nature, and chant slogans. They readily respond to man's instinctive attraction to jungle drums and primitive rhythm as exemplified in a war dance. These tactics have the effect of increasing the aggressiveness of the mob, especially when there are large numbers involved. Police may become demoralized if they have not been trained in what to expect.
Thrown Objects. Every conceivable object has been thrown at police units in mob actions. Listed are a few of the more common: Garbage, animal and human droppings, rotten fruits and vegetables, eggs, bricks, rocks, paving stones, bottles, cans filled with dirt, plastic bags and balloons filled with liquid ammonia or chlorox, bags of pepper, containers full of stain (also dye and acids), birdshot, tacks, firecrackers, jagged pieces of scrap metal, improvised fire and explosive bombs, powdered glass, chunks of window glass, chimney soot, coal and coal dust, plates, triple-pronged fish hooks, tin-can lids, links of chain, short lengths of barbed wire, or any other similar object.
Primitive type catapult devices, slings, sling shots, and similar devices using old inner tubes have been used to hurl objects from within the mob at police who are out of range of hand-thrown objects. Thrown objects can not only be expected from the mob in immediate contact but also from members on roofs, inside windows, and on buildings adjacent to the action.
Hand Weapons. Mob members may be armed with hand weapons secured from local sources such as looted hardware stores. The following have been encountered in action: wooden clubs, pieces of pipe, pointed sticks or improvised spears, short lengths of concrete reinforcing steel, wooden clubs with lengths of chain or barbed wire tied to the end, baseball bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, hoe handles, hammers, machetes, hand sickles, shovels with edges sharpened, pitchforks, axes, all types of knives, handguns, mattocks, ice picks, bows and arrows, and air pistols and rifles.
If the mob is a spontaneous one, hand weapons will normally be fewer in number and less dangerous in nature. The longer the mob has to organize and prepare, the more armament must be expected. Police officials, by using their intelligence services and observation facilities, must always consider the degree of mob armament when planning a suppressing action,
Shoulder Weapons. A mixture of sporting-type firearms may be encountered, if the opportunity has been present to secure them by looting or to assemble them in the prior planning phase. Normally, a wcll-disciplined mob led by trained agitators will not desire to employ too many firearms. Sniping tactics will be employed rather than mass use of these weapons. Heavy use of firearms will result in counter firepower from the police, who may be replaced by heavier-armed military units if the situation deteriorates. The mob, of course, would prefer to combat the lighter armed and less deadly civil police units.
Isolated sniping can normally be expcctcd in a large action. For this purpose .22 caliber arms are very effective, as the report is not loud and the location of the sniper is more difficult to determine. Expert riflemen with scope-sighted rifles can also be expected in a mob in a well-organized and serious operation. These men usually have instructions to "pick off" the key police officials directing the counter mob action. This is one reason that a police unit, trained for riot action, must have its own countcr snipers available.
Use of Fire and Explosive«. Mobs under professional direction often blow up or set fire to buildings and vehicles in order to create more confusion, increase the excitement of their own mob elements, and to try to create a diversion by drawing the attention of the police from the main scene of action.
If the mob is moving forward, it may contain within itself special groups or individuals who are equipped to start fires as the action progresses. Other special groups may be designated to go in advance of the fire-setters and rip open doors, windows, and gates with heavy crow bars, so that access can be secured to the interior of buildings. These same tactics of breaking open doors also make it easier for the inevitable looters to operate that follow in the wake of the mob.
Normally fire hydrants will be destroyed in conjunction with a deliberate torch action. Areas between the police and the mob may be flooded with gasoline and set off to prevent police contact. Flaming torches may be utilized at night for mob illumination purposes and also to further arouse primitive emotions. Gasoline-soaked waste is often used along with other gasoline-saturated, flammable objects such as cushions and pillows hurled at police elements from roof tops and windows. Fronts of buildings can be drenched with gasoline and set fire.
The "molotov" cocktail is a favorite mob weapon. This is usually a glass bottle filled with gasoline and corked. Around the neck of the bottle will be tied a piece of gasoline-soaked rag. The rag is set on fire and the bottle thrown at some object against which it will shatter on impact. By using a shotgun with a blank shell, a crude but effective long-range launcher for the "molotov" cocktail can be devised. In place of a cork, a long, round stick is used as the bottle stopper. The butt of the gun is placed on the ground and the stick placed in the muzzle of the gun against the blank shell. The bomb is ignited and the trigger of the gun pulled. The gas chargc of the blank shell against the end of the stick will drive the fire bomb a considerable distance. A little experimentation as to the proper angle of the piece will develop a fairly efficient, long-range launcher.
Gasoline stations and gas and gasoline-storage tanks are all prime targets for mob action and sabotage, prior to or in conjunction with mob action. Fire not only has a tactical use by the mob but it also is very effective in inciting primitive emotions among the mob members thereby increasing the violence potential.
Utilizing commercial sources for explosives, secured either in advance or during looting, a trained mob will use the destruction of key buildings as a diversion action to draw the police. Booby traps and bombs placed in heavily-populated buildings will be part of the action. Explosives can be more easily concealed, and timing devices readily improvised. Consequently, this tactic must always be expected against planned targets such as utilities and communications prior to the actual disturbance. Planned explosions blamed on other parties are always a good way to fabricate martyrs.
Attacks On Small Groups and Vehicles. Many times a mob is incited to violence by a directed action against some small, specific group of individuals or their property. In this manner hatred can be aroused that may result in beatings, and killing or burning. Racial minorities are often the object of such an attack. This type of tactic can be used as a diversion or as a target to set off explosive violence that can later be directed at the principal target.
Vehicles such as trolleys, buses, and privately-owned cars or trucks that are unfortunate enough to be parked in the action area are always potential targets. Trolleys and buses are derailed or turned over and set on fire. Flaming news papers are forced into gas tanks, or cars can be drenched with gasoline first and then set on fire.
Buses and other vehicles can be commandeered by the rioters. They can be set on fire, or driven under their own power, in the direction of the police lines, the driver jumping out before contact. The same tactics with or without drivers can be used to break blockades or damage buildings. At times these vehicles are loaded with explosives.
Tires of parked cars may be slashed and upholstery ripped open and windows broken. Many times large tacks to damage tires are scattered in the streets along routes police vehicles will use to approach the mob.
On occasion trucks, buses, and similar vehicles have been stalled, or accidents created that will block off streets and prevent police elements from entering areas or leaving their headquarters.
Looiing. It is a standard tactic to organize or to encourage looting. In this manner, the uneducated, non-dedicated mob elements will be attracted. Promises of easily acquired wealth, either in the form of material goods or money, is always a sure way to attract mob members.
Liquor stores, hardware stores, banks, gun stores, jewelry stores, and food stores are all prime targets. In conjunction with the general looting by the uninitiated, the professionals will concentrate on police stations, newspaper offices, telephone, radio and television and telegraph stations, government buildings, and banks.
Communications and Utilities. These are prime targets of any large, well-organized mob action. This does not mean that the mob itself will first attack them. Many times planned sabotage will take place in conjunction with or prior to a mob action.
Cutting off electric power and telephone facilities is one of the first moves to be expected in support of any organized mob action.
Demonstrations. A demonstration is described as an assemblage of persons exhibiting sympathy against authority or with some political, economic, or social condition or movement.
Public demonstrations frequently are the planned forerunners to mob violence. Due to skillful leadership and knowledge of mob psychology, a seemingly harmless or peaceful demonstration can in minutes be turned into a howling de-
structivc mob. Police are often taken by surprise in such instances and find themselves unprepared to meet the sudden change in the situation.
Sometimes a series of demonstrations will be called by the organizers before the scene is set for actual concerted mob action, or enough strength of numbers and confidence is developed to touch tilings off.
The parading of the bodies of so-called martyrs in their coffins in the streets as victims of claimed government or police brutality and the parades of groups of women dressed in black as pretended widows of the dead, and of so-called martyrs, are examples of this type of demonstration activity.
A crowd of persons may gather as a result of some event that arouses interest and curiosity. The crowd can be turned into a mob if it can be held together long enough and the thinking of the individuals ignited by agitators into mob action. On the other hand, the planned demonstration is already far advanced along the path to mob violence as the participants are already drawn to the scene by the united thinking and interest.
Much attention must be given by police elements to the planned demonstration. Continuous surveillance must be maintained and good intelligence accumulated before, during, and after demonstrations.
The Planned or Fabricated Incident. When elements bent on civil disturbances lack an excuse for one, they will manufacture an incident around which to develop and prepare the mob action. This will vary from planned assassinations to the blowing up of monuments and buildings. The means is not important if the results are obtained.
The planned assassination of the popular figure, Dr. Jorge Gaitean, in Bogota, Colombia in April 1948, was used to set off destructive mob violence; it cost millions of dollars in damage. The popular Latin slang expression, "bogotazo" is now commonly used to describe a destructive, planned, mob action.
Miscellaneous Mob Tactics. It is now common practice to make full use of unarmed women and children in mob actions. They are usually placed in front of the mob in direct contact with the police elements. Wounded and incapacitated war veterans are similarly used. Agitation continues behind the protective screen of women and children and at the indicated time, they are pushed against the police lines by those in the center and rear.
Many times the rioters in front of the police will also be waving the national flag and singing national anthems.
Such tactics make it very difficult for police to break up the mob by use of physical force; tear gas munitions are usually the best solution.
In June i960 when President Eisenhower was visiting Okinawa, Communist-inspired riots and demonstrations took place. U.S. Marines were ordered to fix bayonets and clear away the crowd. Young Okinawan college girls are reported to have unbuttoned their blouses, bared their breasts, and dared the Marines to advance against their naked bosoms.
Rioters often take advantage of a hillside or an incline by rolling vehicles, old auto tires and wheels, or barrels at the police line.
Domestic animals can be driven in front of the mob against police. On some occasions delayed-action explosive charges have even been tied to animals which were driven toward the police lines.
When mounted police are used against a trained mob, its members may try to hamstring the horses by cutting their leg tendons.
Combustion or burning-type gas grenades and 37mm projectiles are, due to their use over many years, well known to the experienced agitator. Specific persons will be designated to pick them up and throw them back. Instructions are also given to the mob members to kick these munitions aside and to avoid the white smoke cloud created during the burning process that liberates the gas, and discloses the area covered. Thus being forewarned, they can avoid any visible gas concentration that does not completely saturate the entire scene and to continue aggressive action against the police. In many recent actions, selected mob members have entered action wearing cotton work gloves that enable them to pick up and throw back combustion-type tear gas grenades and projectiles without burning their hands on the hot body of the grenade. The fact that this type of grenade heats up is only a partial deterrent to throwback.
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