Peru’s protest ‘deactivators’ run toward tear gas to stop it
By DANIEL POLITI
LIMA, Peru (AP) — When police fire tear gas at protesters demanding the resignation of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, most run away. A few, though, run toward the gas canisters as quickly as possible — to neutralize them. These are the protest movement’s “deactivators.” Donning gas masks, safety goggles and thick gloves, these volunteers grab the hot gas canisters and toss them inside large plastic bottles filled with a mixture of water, baking soda and vinegar. The deactivators made their debut in Peru street protests in 2020, drawing inspiration from Hong Kong protesters in 2019 who unveiled new strategies to try to neutralize the effects of tear gas. They are now a common part of the protest landscape.