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:
- Specific to protesting in DC Inauguration weekend
- Protesting in general
- Regarding your right to take photos
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.
- 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.
- Make sure anyone you know of who is protesting has safety information
- Offer to be the “bail buddy” for someone you know