How to hold back the tears in Tahrir Square


In preparation for the Million Man March today, Egyptian protesters are expecting the worst. Veterans of Tahrir Square agree that this past week has been bloodier and more dangerous than conflicts during the "January 25 Revolution". Tear-gas has been particularly dangerous, causing fainting, convulsions and death through asphyxiation. It's so potent that some claim that the gas is actually a nerve agent. Although digital activists are organizing to get the gas identified, the only certain knowledge is that some canisters originate from tiny Jamestown, USA and are often expired by up to five years.

A civilian is pretty defenseless against the stuff. All the same, Cairene protestors have developed some ingenious DIY defenses. What follows is a list of anti-gas inventions, tips and tactics gathered from Midaan Tahrir:

Send it back: In Mohammed Mahmoud Street, protesters run into the smoke to find gas canisters and throw them back to their owners.

Water: If you can brave the fumes, grab a canister to bury it in a bucket of water. Shower only with cold water to keep pores closed against toxins.

Gas Masks and Goggles: Industrial plastic gas masks and swimming goggles are for sale throughout Tahrir Square. Children are also distributing paper hospital masks for free.

Baking Soda: The kitchen ingredient sodium bicarbonate is supposed to neutralize your chemically burned skin. Mix with water and spread the paste on your face.

Liquid Antacids: Spread the diluted stomach medicine on your skin. Some recommend Pepsi for the same purpose.

Humor: The chant "The people/ want/ the end of the Field Marshal!" has had to compete with a new chant, "The people/ want/ the old teargas!"