Porsha Williams participated in Atlanta protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star was tear gassed in a peaceful crowd and called the experience “devastating.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams participated in an Atlanta protest on Tuesday. The 38-year-old was recording an Instagram Live of the experience when something unexpected happened: Tear gas was released into the crowd.
In the video, Williams and a street full of protestors walked together in solidarity. Then, the crowd begins to run after hearing multiple popping sounds. “It’s gas! It’s gas!” Williams shouted as she ran away.
As she starts to cough uncontrollably, a man came over to help her. “Tilt your head back,” he said. “Open your eyes. Blink. Don’t rub your face.” The man called for anti-tear gas, and several people nearby mention needing milk. Williams later confirms that she used milk to flush her eyes. (For the safest tear gas treatment, experts recommend using water, since milk isn’t always sterile.)
After she recovered, Williams addressed what happened in the video. “Do y’all see this? We in Atlanta, it’s 7:45, the curfew is not even until 9:00. We’re out here peacefully protesting, and they tear gassing us for no reason at all,” Williams said.
Williams further opened up to People about how she felt in that moment. “It was devastating to feel like I was out there trying to stand with my people, stand with our allies, and help them raise a message of hope and to be silenced and not able to breathe because of the gas bomb that was thrown,” she said.
Tear gas is a chemical agent that can cause excruciating pain (especially to the eyes and skin), relentless coughing, trouble breathing, and even vomiting. While it’s a popular crowd control method among police officers, it’s actually banned during warfare by the Geneva Convention.
Williams said being tear gassed gave her “another level of strength” to keep protesting. “Right now, I am pushing through with a heavy heart for everyone, for the people who live in this country, for my brothers and sisters,” she said. “Just as passionate as I am about having a safe and quality future of life for my daughter, I want the same thing for any other American.”
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