Black Folks – Demo Guidelines

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.

Physical Safety

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. 

Digital Safety

Mobile Phones

  • 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.

Social Media

  • 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. 

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