The following list of best practices is meant to keep people safe at a protest or ‘demo’. Use this information to make informed decisions before, during, and afterwards about physical and digital safety. We need to remain vigilant about both.
Before the Demo
- Research the organizers to know which groups and individuals are behind it.
- Never go to a demo alone! Always go with a buddy or a group of people.
- Discuss meeting points and logistics in case you get separated.
- Have a plan for the event that someone in your group is detained by the police. Review our guidelines on police interaction as a witness and victim.
- Avoid clothing with bright colors or prominent logos and cover up visible tattoos. You don’t want to be easily recognizable in a crowd or on photos.
- Wear long sleeves and glasses instead of contact lenses. Apply sunscreen and bring water or contact lens solution to help against pepper spray / tear gas.
- Wear a face mask and bring extras. Review our guidelines on COVID safety.
Getting To and From the Demo:
- Traveling on public transport with your banner can make you a target. Fold it down so it can’t be used to identify you.
At The Demo
- Avoid anyone vandalizing property or inciting violence. This is a known infiltration tactic of police and white nationalists to discredit the protest and arrest protestors.
- Don’t swear or curse at the police. That’s enough for them to arrest you.
- Stay calm, stick together, and leave no one behind.
- Smartphones constantly broadcast tracking data. Leave yours at home or put it in Airplane Mode. Write emergency numbers on your body with a permanent marker.
- Use a messaging service with end-to-end encryption such as ‘Signal.’
- Turn off fingerprint or face unlock. The police can use it to unlock your phone without a warrant. Use a strong passcode instead.
- Encrypt your phone. Check your phone’s settings to enable this by default.
- Don’t upload content that could be used against yourself, another protestor or the people being detained. Videos and photos have metadata embedded which can time, date and locate the image.
- Don’t accept random friend requests. It could be a trick to access your content.
- Consider what you post and who you’re connected to. The police and white nationalists monitor social media to identify protesters or disrupt peaceful protests.