Disclaimer: The following is provided for information purposes only and with the intent of informing law-abiding citizens. The author of this entry does not endorse or condone violence, the willful destruction of property, or illegal activity of any kind.
One thing I have seen in many protests is that protesters more often than not come unprepared to face various crowd-control techniques they might face. The truth is that in many cases, effective counter-measures to crowd control techniques can be purchased on the civilian market quite readily with no background checks. In some cases, simple items can be used as counter-measures.
I've compiled a list of items that may be of use to protesters in places like Ferguson, or wherever police have become violent and belligerent. I believe that as a citizen of the United States, we have a right to protect ourselves, and that even those who resist oppression peacefully should be adequately prepared for a violent reaction by strongarm authorities.
Here is a shopping list of things to bring to your next protest. Because I am not affiliated with any vendor I will not link to any place that sells these items but a quick online search will reveal that these items can be easily had.
Head injuries are quite often a cause of accidental death and permanent disability. Luckily, helmets of many different kinds are readily available. An open-faced type helmet will allow you to include other accessories for protection against gas and lasers, though a closed-face style might be preferable in situations where you're likely to get bashed on the head by a club-wielding cop. Closed-face helmets have the added advantage of protecting anonymity and
Although I know of no reports of them being deployed, laser weapons to blind and dazzle crowds into submission do exist. However, by all accounts wearing reflective sunglasses may be an effective counter-measure. Keep a pair in your pocket just in case.
Something as simple as a good pair of goggles that seals the eyes well and a cloth soaked in lemon juice will work; however, the best protection against tear gas is still a gas mask. These can be had easily and cheaply on the civilian market.
Thick clothes, such as protective motorcycle leathers with layers underneath, could potentially minimize injuries from rubber bullets, taser darts, and police dogs. The use of leather bracers can give you a convenient way to distract a police dog; give them a heavily-leathered arm if they go for a more sensitive place. Also, wear something padded if you can (knee and elbow pads perhaps) but be aware that you may be committing a felony if you are arrested while wearing purpose-made body armor (such as kevlar vests) even if you haven't actually violated the law.
Protect your feet! You'll need them to get out of there if things get too hot. Steel-toed boots are great for preventing crush injuries. Get a pair that also protects your ankles and calves, such as boots from an army surplus store.
Wearable cameras are cheap and plentiful. The cops won't be wearing one, so if you live in a state that hasn't outlawed taking video of police yet, hold them accountable!
Protect your anonymity! Even if they're not fighting you, it doesn't mean they aren't spying on you.
Additionally (and this is strictly FYI) the sort of gear used by police, including blinding lasers, batons, riot helmets, tasers, shields, and large "fire extinguisher" type pepper spray dispensers, and even bean bag shotgun rounds are available to the general public and quite easily purchased online after a brief web search. However, be aware that there may be legal issues with having such items in your possession if you are arrested. I do not recommend them or include them in my primary list for this reason.
Good luck, and long live the American worker!