Marching this weekend?

I’m excited for you! I’ve collected some advice from various sources so you can be safe and prepared.

“Know Your Rights” guides, from the ACLU:

Thorough list from The Cut. Highlights:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and rain gear.
  • Have some cash money
  • Snack and water
  • Have at least one buddy and make a safety plan with them.
  • Bandana (in case of tear gas)
  • For trans protestors: ID that matches gender identity

Here’s an FAQ from the Women’s March website (regarding DC but probably not a bad idea for other marches). Take special note of:

  • Bag restrictions (bags must be clear or small, are subject to search, etc)
  • Sign/pole restrictions – no wood/metal/plastic sign poles. Use cardboard ones.
  • There will be bathrooms, accommodations for marches with disabilities, and first aid available.

Be prepared to get arrested (no one is immune, no matter how obedient you act). Highlights from Mic and Colorlines:

  • Write your “one phonecall” number on your person with a Sharpie (and some backups. Your phone might be taken away. Who should you call?
  • Make sure someone knows where you’ve disappeared to (ideally, same person can bail you out and will come with you).
    • DC Courts only accept cash or money orders for bail
    • Bail will probably be between $250-$1000, but we can’t really predict it
    • You and your bail buddy should know where ATMs are since you probably don’t want to carry that kind of cash around and will have trouble getting a money order on short notice.
  • Yell out your name (if there are legal observers around, they’ll document it)
  • Have your legal ID with you for crying out loud.
  • Label your belongings.
  • Shut up and don’t resist (even if your rights are being violated). Plead the 5th. Get a lawyer. The second you resist they have more rights to your body and freedom.
  • Prevent getting arrested by:
    • Being wary of stepping on private property
    • Staying cool when interacting with police

Thank you for assuming all the risks of protesting and demonstrating on behalf of the progressive movement. I hope you have a safe time, full of camaraderie, and when you get home, you’re energized and ready to get to work.

Action Items

  • Make sure anyone you know of who is protesting has safety information
  • Offer to be the “bail buddy” for someone you know

Author: Melissa

Melissa is an artist and half-architect living in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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