We've pulled together a list of key tips from a few good protest sources, like Right To Protest and Vice. The list isn't exhaustive, so be sure to incorporate other sources!
There are a number of rights that you exercise when taking the part in protests. But rules and regulations on protest vary from country to country so make sure you find out what they are and how existing restrictions might affect your participation in a particular protest.
What exactly are you fighting for? Think about the risks, opportunities and legal implications of the protest. Decide what you think and what you feel comfortable doing.
Don't count on your phone to connect with friends or family if you get separated in a large crowd. At protests, there is often increased cell and streaming activity. Use the app below in case you need help communicating.
In today’s world, it’s essential to protect your privacy, online and offline. And it’s not just about you: if you protect your own privacy, it will also help protect your friends’ privacy. Be aware that snoopers look for specific key words on social media that might suggest you’re participating in a protest.
Some demonstrators wear face paint, glasses, hoods or masks to conceal their identity. But others use these to carry out criminal acts and discredit the protest. Be aware of the implications of disguising yourself, as it might be illegal in your location.
Some people want to protect their identity. They may not want to be shown on social networks. Whenever possible, ask for their permission. This however does not apply to the police. It is your right to film interactions between citizens and police in a protest.
In some situations police officers may react negatively to being filmed. Protect the material before leaving the demonstration. Hide it, encrypt it, copy or share it in case the police try to delete or confiscate it. There are many applications for mobile devices that allow you to do it all safely.
If things get out of hand follow the plan you agreed beforehand. Do things systematically: deal with the situation, get to a safe place – leave calmly, and check in with your safety network.
This causes irritation, especially to eyes and skin. Move upwind, breathe slowly and avoid touching the affected part. Research and carry a soothing liquid. Be careful if you have a medical condition.
Don’t resist arrest. Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions. Ask about the charges and where you are being taken. Demand immediate medical attention if injured. If possible, try to ensure other protesters know your name and age before you are detained. When arrested, you should have the right to remain silent. You may simply say, “I am going to remain silent and would like a lawyer.
It is safer to leave the protest in groups, as this is often the time when arbitrary arrests take place. Make sure someone knows when you leave and when you are safely home.
Depending on what’s happened, rely on your community, the fellow protesters, or your friends/family. Just don’t feel pressured to deal with whatever happened on your own.
A protest is only a starting point. There might be immediate action (e.g., a bailout fund if someone was arrested) needed, so check in.
When you take a picture or make a video, your digital camera/phone will attach information (i.e. time, location, device type) that could reveal your identity. Use applications such as ObscuraCam to erase this data.
If you think social media networks are deleting posts or blocking users, ask them to explain if this is the case and demand answers from them. Many will have buttons through which you can submit questions or complaints.
Nobody deserves to be mistreated, so if you’ve been treated unjustly consider complaining to the relevant authorities or civil society groups. Get legal advice and support from local human rights groups before doing so.