It is always best to derive lessons learned from practical operations, in the field. These are operations where a measure of success was acquired, along with important lessons learned. The following reflects an actual TF application of the doctrine highlighted in the contents of this manual.
D-1. The purpose of this manual is to provide TF units and elements with the latest guidance on providing crowd control and preventing civil disturbances.
D-2. Local civilians often gather in towns or along strategic locations throughout an AO to demonstrate grievances or other causes (for example, protesting the apprehension of a fellow citizen, policies of US forces, and policies of government services). Although civilians have the right to assemble, crowd gatherings are predominantly ethnically based, motivated, and influenced. Local civilians can apply for a permit to legally conduct a rally 72 hours in advance as long as their assembly is peaceful and unobtrusive to government services, freedom of movement, or the rights of others. On occasion, intelligence collection can indicate a possibility for violence. In these instances or during spontaneous crowd formations, the TF must provide forces in support of a safe and secure environment or to assist civilian police in preventing unlawful acts. If unlawful acts are committed, detain violators for adjudication under the legal system.
D-3. Take precautions to avoid becoming a catalyst to the civil disturbance. During lawful assemblies, the TF must make every effort to treat HN individuals with respect. This means that the TF must engage in peaceful gatherings using interpersonal communication skills. This ensures that demonstrators understand that TF personnel respect their right to lawfully assemble during peaceful demonstrations. When possible, TF engagement of a peaceful assembly should be unobtrusive.
D-4. Do not display civil disturbance equipment or weapons, overtly prepare defenses against a crowd, or aggressively violate crowd space, unless presented with information, intelligence, or negative indicators of pending violence.
D-5. Any response to negative indicators should be sequential, measured, and focused on deescalating rather than escalating the crowd.
D-6. Predictive intelligence is the best indicator of a potential civil disturbance and may provide insight on internal planning, external influences, environmental conditions, or catalyst events that should influence TF planning and response.
D-7. Other indicators of a potential civil disturbance are people beginning to assemble during a scheduled or spontaneous rally. When people begin to assemble, leaders should pay particular attention to crowd dynamics. As the crowd demeanor or dynamics change from peaceful assembly to unruly behavior or unlawful acts, negative indicators should provide an advance warning and prompt a measured response. Negative indicators of a potential change in crowd dynamics and unlawful activities should prompt immediate countermeasures (see Figure D-1).
D-8. Crowd dynamics change from people milling around and talking among themselves in isolated groups to a more collective focus concentrated on a single objective (for example, TF personnel, specific agitators or magnets, a government figure, or other activity).
D-9. The crowd begins to mass or tighten into a large contiguous body from a loose formation to a static congregation located in a more concentrated area. Unchecked, massing can provide anonymity and a collective feeling of invulnerability. This change in group dynamics could provide ideal conditions for a civil disturbance (see Figure D-2).
D-10. People may begin chanting slogans or yelling ethnically charged rhetoric or obscenities. Because chanting can indicate an increase in crowd intensity, interpreters should be positioned in strategic locations to interpret crowd rhetoric.
D-11. Signaling occurs when members of the crowd position themselves to communicate and synchronize crowd actions tied to a plan with specific objectives. Signaling may indicate the intent to escalate the message through the use of violent or unlawful acts.
D-12. The crowd may attempt to block public thoroughfares (for example, entrances and exits to public buildings, MSRs, community streets, or other traffic areas that may degrade freedom of movement or similar actions). This escalates the level of attention given to the crowd's message or prevents freedom of movement to opposing persons or groups.
D-13. Any signs that the crowd is arming itself with objects (for example, bottles, rocks, and sticks) is a clear indication of impending danger to the TF and other civilians. In fact, during a recent civil disturbance, some members of the crowd were seen handing out bottles to others in the crowd. Arming demonstrates intent toward violence is unlawful.
D-14. The presence of people from outside the community may indicate more sophisticated planning and resources than would otherwise be expected from local community members. Outside people may feel insulated from responsibility for local actions and, therefore, provide a dangerous catalyst for a violent civil disturbance.
Agitators and Instigators
D-15. Agitators and instigators are common elements associated with civil disturbances. They often provide a catalyst to incite the crowd toward violence. Whether spewing rhetoric or committing unlawful acts, their continued presence will fuel potential strife.
Absence of Children
D-16. Recent civil disturbances have shown that even when children were initially present at a rally, they were absent before the civil disturbance erupted with violence. While the presence of children is not a guarantee of a peaceful assembly, the removal of children from a rally may provide early warning for a pending escalation of hostilities or a full-blown riot.
D-17. If TF personnel believe, based on intelligence or negative indicators, that a crowd is planning to, or may spontaneously, riot they should immediately engage crowd participants using the preventive TTP measures.
D-18. The force executing these preventive TTP can include a number of civil disturbance teams and elements capable of executing the tasks shown in Figures D-2, D-3, D-4, and D-5. These figures demonstrate a full range of crowd control teams and elements, to include camera teams with interpreters, checkpoints, QRF response, riot control formation, NLW teams, snatch and detain teams, blocking teams, and detainee evacuation, as required. Figures D-2, D-3, D-4, and D-5 illustrate the evolution of a crowd formation and the recommended positioning of teams and elements to engage people as they congregate. Included with each security team is a designated camera or video recorder.
D-19. Depending on the situation and crowd dynamics, it may not be necessary to establish all crowd control teams and elements, but they should be included in planning. Regardless of task organization, teams and elements must be prepared to execute the crowd control and civil disturbance TTP. The order to execute the following TTP should be tailored based on local conditions.
D-20. Engaging people as a crowd forms is essential to prevention. Whether based on intelligence or negative indicators, people should be engaged early, before the crowd masses as shown in Figure D-2, rather than waiting until after the crowd masses as shown in Figure D-3. Early contact will assist TFs in personalizing their interaction and ensuring that people understand their presence is known, documented, and can be linked to their actions.
D-21. Cameras are one of the best tools for preventing civil disturbances. The use of cameras to document crowd formations, particularly lens-size groups (small enough to fit in a single photo), will personalize contact and eliminate feelings of anonymity among the crowd. People whose identity has been documented will think twice before committing unlawful acts. Even without documenting names, photo analysis can identify people associated with the civil disturbance, especially those who unlawfully participated as crowd instigators, agitators, or magnets or may commit unlawful acts.
D-22. As people begin to gather in and along streets, camera teams should be deployed as unobtrusively as possible to engage people before they congregate in mass. As depicted in Figure D-3, camera teams should consist of two soldiers with an interpreter and be employed in a widely dispersed pattern. Such small, dispersed camera teams are less likely to intrude on lawful rallies or create invasive friction that might become a catalyst to a civil disturbance.
D-23. As the crowd begins to demonstrate negative indicators for a possible civil disturbance (Figure D-4), camera teams should become more invasive by actively engaging groups to take their pictures. Camera teams should focus cameras on instigators, agitators, or magnets (personnel that garner respect or compliance from the crowd). If a person is purposely avoiding the camera, even if his activities are lawful, the team should take special measures to obtain his picture. Each time a camera team takes a picture of a person or group of people, they must immediately engage them using the warning outlined in paragraph D-26.
D-24. Once the crowd has massed and displays negative indicators or begins to riot, camera teams should immediately move behind the riot formation line (see Figure D-4). It is essential, however, that camera teams continue to document the event, focusing on people who are committing illegal acts such as arming themselves, throwing objects, and assaulting TF personnel.
D-25. Immediately following a crowd control or civil disturbance operation, photos must be consolidated, processed, and submitted to the TF analysis and control element (ACE) for analysis. A near real-time analysis will provide immediate intelligence for ongoing operations to prevent subsequent civil disturbances or to detain violators from the previous operation.
D-26. Once the team has taken a picture of a person or group of people, they should warn the crowd that as individuals they would be held accountable for their actions. Using an interpreter, the camera team leader will make solid eye contact with the person or group and state the following warning: "We have your picture. You will be held accountable for your actions. If you commit an unlawful act, you will be detained, if not today, tomorrow. Blocking roads or access to public buildings is unlawful."
Limit Crowd Size
D-27. Persons seeking to conduct a rally must apply for a permit through civilian authorities at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. If a rally has not been lawfully scheduled through civilian authorities, or if it has, but is demonstrating negative indicators and is turning into a civil disturbance, TF units and elements should attempt to limit the crowd or separate gatherings under 10 people (see Figure D-3). Walking patrols can assist camera teams in breaking up large groups. Walking patrols should operate in conjunction with camera teams. This will ensure that camera teams can accurately document and provide the aforementioned warning to prevent further escalation of crowd size or behavior.
D-28. Routes should be considered key terrain and must be controlled by the TF to retain the initiative. Note how a QRF divides in order to clear side streets between protected buildings in Figure D-4. Blocking routes or public thoroughfares is not only illegal, but severely restrictive to civil disturbance operations. Routes must remain open to allow movement of TFs and elements, whether it is for camera teams during early contact or for the QRF to respond during an actual civil disturbance. Because blocking routes is illegal, camera teams must document responsible persons for immediate or subsequent detention and legal processing.
Isolate the Area
D-29. As depicted in Figure D-3, checkpoints should be established to isolate the area. While checkpoints can prevent people from entering the isolated area, they should never prevent people from exiting the area. When trapped, people may escalate the level of violence out of fear, anger, or desperation. When placing checkpoints, leaders should find a location that is both close enough to limit the number of persons being isolated, but far enough away that they will not draw a crowd from people within the isolated area. Checkpoints are essential to preventing others from joining the already gathered crowds. These checkpoints must provide storage room for processing vehicles in both directions; but when limited by space or other considerations, it should simply block traffic trying to enter the isolated area. Improve force protection measures in and around checkpoints as necessary. Strategically placed checkpoints can provide numerous countermeasures to prevent and control a civil disturbance or to identify and detain persons who may have committed unlawful acts during the riot. Use checkpoints to prevent potential participants from joining the crowd or civil disturbance. Checkpoints should also prevent any activity that may commingle ethnic groups. The checkpoint must process all people departing the area by documenting personal and vehicle information with the pictures of all occupants in front of or adjacent to the vehicle.
Establish Lethal Overwatch
D-30. The mentality of "taking the high ground" is just as important in civil disturbance operations as in any other type of operation. Although QRF assets on the ground have both NL and lethal capabilities, it is critical to ensure their safety by deploying marksman/observer teams as shown with the C-team designates on top of the buildings in Figures D-4 and D-5. Detain persons committing unlawful acts. The detention and legal processing of persons who commit unlawful acts, against TFs or local laws sends a clear message that all people will be held accountable for their actions. Immediately detain persons who are committing unlawful acts and are isolated or easily accessible, unless the detain operation would create a catalyst event or endanger the apprehension team. If it is not feasible to immediately detain them, a picture with relevant information should be forwarded for analysis and inclusion on the detain list for their detention at a later date and time. Remember, as stated in the warning, they will be detained, if not today, tomorrow. Detainees should be quickly relocated to the forward processing site for detainee evacuation (see Figure D-5). Detainee evacuation sites should be behind the control formations to prevent any interference from the local population. Sites should be positioned at two separate locations, such as at the end of a town or located along an MSR. All people who are detained based on solid evidence of a crime (for example, pictures of them armed with dangerous objects, blocking a road, assaulting TF members) will be turned over to local authorities for legal processing.
D-31. When executing operations based on the detain list, do not show people the list or separate pictures from the list.
Quick Reaction Force Position
D-32. The QRF should be positioned with easy access to decisive points to interdict formations or gathering of crowds, support checkpoints, or provide sustained operations in support of early contact teams. Notice in Figure D-1, how the QRF is positioned out of direct sight of the crowd until employment becomes necessary. QRF personnel are readily organized, equipped, and easily moved into position to move between buildings and through obstacles (see Figure D-4).
D-33. At this point, if the crowd ignores verbal orders, NL munitions from appropriate standoff distances could be used to influence and motivate the crowd to comply. Use of NL munitions could prevent the necessity for QRF personnel to come into direct physical contact with the crowd. Early positioning of the QRF could become a catalyst event that may instigate a civil disturbance.
D-34. Assembling in mass (see Figure D-5), directly in front of the protected buildings, illustrates to the crowd that there is strength in numbers and the QRF is determined to disperse the crowd from the area. As a reminder, remove the flanking checkpoints that may block the dispersal of the crowd.