This is something my professor taught me. When in a large demonstration, you need to keep an eye on not just the public, but also your fellow demonstrators as well. Cops have a tendency to sneak into both.
Keep an eye on the people recording whatever demonstration you’re in, because there is a strong chance that person is an undercover cop. That person is looking for anyone, ANYONE that they can profile for when they start doing arrests. This is why you want to cover your face and blend in with the crowd. When you notice someone recording, do NOT look at the camera; it might well be an invitation for the cops to single you out. If this happens, you WILL be arrested if/when a disturbance occurs.
This leads me to your fellow demonstrators. Cops can (and have) snuck in and blended into those crowds too. Their aim is to actually START the trouble that will justify the arrests that will occur later. There are only a few telltale signs, so keep an eye out for:
1- Black sneakers
3- covered faces
These undercover cops will wait for the right moment to strike. When you see an unusual amount of recorders, that’s a sign that shit’s about to go down. You’ll usually have a few seconds to react. The moment you see some of your fellow demonstrators go for garbage cans or heading towards windows, DO NOT FOLLOW THEM. Keep your cool. The instant you see someone start breaking windows, do NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, JOIN IN. Run. Get as far away from the ruckus as possible.
The undercover cops are baiting you and yours in that moment. At the very least, they’ll discredit whatever peaceful protest you may have been engaging in at the time. At most, they’ll bait a large number of protestors into becoming violent, leading to many arrests, just like they wanted.
Remember that the press is NOT your friend. They aren’t there for the truth, they are there for a story. If you talk to them, you do so at your own risk. Never give your real name. Conceal your face at all times. Wear NOTHING that makes you stand out or recognizable.
It’s a tough world out there. Protect yourself!