Protests can be exciting, incredibly important, and powerful but can also often be a place where safety of the people is compromised. Whether this is due to violence initiated by the police, hate groups, or other protestors, it is important to know how to keep yourself and others safe.
Photo: Alex Radelich on Unsplash
Buddy system- Always bring a buddy or two while attending a protest. Entering a protest alone won't ensure your safety because no one other than yourself will be watching you. If for some reason the protest gets violent and you get hurt, your buddy will be able to help get you out of the situation and get you help.
Bandanas, water, and milk- these three tools will help you in a tear gas situation. Putting the bandana over your face will help protect you from the gas, if you do get tear gassed pouring milk on your eyes will stop the burning, and the water is to keep you hydrated.
Tell someone where you are going. Before you go to the protest, make sure you tell someone who isn't protesting where you will be. If for some reason you get hurt or end up being arrested then they can help get you out of it or call others for help.
Safety in numbers-When the police start to build a wall with themselves and have their shields up and their riot gear fully on, stay towards the middle of the group or the back of the group. The front of the line tends to see more violence and have more arrests, but by staying in the middle or the back gives you an escape route if needed.
Make freinds- say hi to the people marching next to you, this will establish a connection and if/when things get violent you will be more likely to help one another.
Pay attention- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and if something looks suspicious then tell one of the leaders of the protest.
Have the ACLU police brutality app- Have this app downloaded on your phone and open at all times, by doing so you can report any police brutality you see, this also allows you to photograph it as evidence.
Know your rights and have someone to call- stay informed by knowing your rights, on the chance you get arested know what they can and can’t do. Always have someone to call and bail you out of jail or someone who can provide you with a lawyer.
Stay safe and keep stepping up!