In 2020, more than 12 million Americans attended a protest for the first time. Many were unsure of what they should do, how they should act, and what they should bring. To help new activists exercise their rights more effectively, we’ve put together these protester safety tips.
Go With a Group
While you can go to a protest alone, it's better to go in a group. Your group can help you if they notice something wrong or if you're met by law enforcement. Bringing friends also adds to the number of people at the event, making the protest even more effective.
Wear a Mask
Protesting safely in the age of COVID-19 requires that you wear a mask to protect yourself and your fellow protesters. Ideally, you should use a surgical mask or an N-95 mask, if you can obtain them.
While protesting, you may be outside for hours. Make sure you bring layered clothing so you're prepared for both cold weather and tear-gas, which can irritate your skin. If you're worried there might be gas, bring goggles and heat-resistant gloves.
Wearing solid colors without logos will make it more difficult for police to single you out in a crowd.
Pack a Bag
Once in a street protest, you may be unable to get necessities until the march ends. Make sure you have a day's supply of water and snacks, as well as a first aid kit.
You should also bring pocket change, cash, and your ID.
Contact a non-participant
Before going to the protest, make sure you have a non-participant you can use as an emergency contact. Consider writing their phone number somewhere on your body so that it's easy to remember if your phone is confiscated.
March in Formation
While marching, stay close to the group and encourage stragglers to close in. Law enforcement may try to detain or arrest those who are on their own.
Avoid Contact Lenses and Makeup
Never wear contact lenses when protesting. Contacts can absorb tear gas and cause direct irritation to your eye, even when the gas is gone.
Oil-based makeups can also trap tear gas and cause long-term irritation.
Avoid Loose Items
Avoid wearing anything that can be grabbed or pulled. That includes jewelry, rings, and chains. If you have long hair, make sure it is tied back.
If you believe your rights were violated during a protest, we are here for you. If you'd like to discuss your case with an experienced Easton personal injury attorneys from Meshkov & Breslin to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (610) 285-1963.