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Sugru. It's a moldable silicon (I think) type of putty that becomes completely inert once it dries. You can do tons of stuff with it, including making unobtrusive but functional no-roll stops. I have used this for all kinds of repairs/mods and it sounds like just the thing you're looking for.
Maintain high situational awareness. Always know who's around you, what the mood of the crowd is. Stand on the side of the protesters, not the cops. That's because at least the cops won't be throwing rocks and bottles. Carry a bottle of water and some paper towels to wipe your face in case you get teargassed or pepper sprayed. Google around for "how to ...
The "mountain climbs straight up into the sky" part of your comment intrigues me. Try to figure a way to get this in a shot. Also, look around for vantage points. Can you get on the roof of a nearby building? How about a building on the far side of the open space across the street? Your 400mm, from a far perspective, could compress the building up against ...
One more tip: Don't assume that because it's a mass of people that you should focus on masses of people. The best shots of crowd events are often of individuals or small groups within the crowd.
Have a horizontal box or tray for it. Get or make a square lenscap. (Front or rear) Large lens has a tripod mount: keep a plate attached, or insert a spare hotshoe-tripod adaptor or something. Two rubber bands and popsicle sticks. Roll it up in flubber. Put non-rolling objects (including short lenses kept vertically) on either side. Put them on a ...
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