Tips on Staying Safe in a Protest

Published 01 June 2022 | by Jillian Kowalchuk

Tips on Staying Safe in a Protest

Nearly 30-Million search results came up with looking for ‘Tips to Stay Safe at a Protest,’ so why is this post any different?

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There will likely be some overlap of safety tips you’ve read before, but we also cover the best asset you have that's hardwired into you. That’s right, built into you. It evolved over tens of thousands of years of our ancestors to stay alert to trouble.

Your own personal alarm system goes off when something feels uncomfortable to you. Oh, and another bonus, you can keep building on it and it’s inflation-proof, as in it’s free! More on this later, but let’s get to some helpful tips about staying safe at a protest.

We won’t be talking about COVID-19 safety measures (as no one really wants to talk about that anymore) but here is a handy link (insert link) on that should you need it. The golden rule still applies if you’re a sick stay at home.

There’s an inherent risk to any large group activities, whether it’s at a football match, festival or a protest. It’s not only important to think of worst case scenarios in the protest, but please also consider how to keep safe while travelling to and from the area.

  • Know your plan, including how to get there safely, what to do if something goes wrong and how you can protect yourself and others while there. Keep it simple and secret to who you want to know, especially if the protest is moving and if phones have been left at home.
  • Attend the protest with others or meet up there. We recommend What3Words to get within a 3-meter radius of each other. Discuss your plan above with them, course correct as needed.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that can also allow you to quickly move if you need to (heels, jewellery, valuables and velcro leave at home).
  • Bring water, snacks and anything else in case you need for a few hours if you get stuck in a crowd or detained in an area. A handy backpack with the essentials may help.
  • Consider leaving your phone at home or taking measures to protect your own and others’ privacy (Recommended read: Surveillance self-defence:
  • ‘Know Your Rights’ as you’ll likely encounter policing and enforcement officers your respond to questions (Liberty Human Rights Keep in mind laws here have been changing quickly so good to take a peek at a few of the recommended human rights.

Now that you’ve planned ahead you’re way ahead of most! Although not always comfortable to think of what could go wrong, it’s important to have your rational mind in charge before flight or flight kicks in. What to do if something feels or is wrong?

  • Trust your intuition. You know that alarm bell we mentioned above? Your body is designed to pay attention to these signals. We all respond to fear and threat differently, but you’ll know what it feels like. If you can get out of that situation, do so as soon as that alarm bell goes, even if it may seem rude or abrupt to others.
  • The fewer distractions you have to pay attention to your bodily responses the better (so yes don’t be on Tik Tok).
  • Harassment, hate and bullying shouldn’t be tolerated even if you are involved or have anti-protest against your cause join in. You can make a report anonymously on Safe & the City’s app (link)
  • Be a good bystander for others, if you see it get the organisers involved or buddy up to intervene if you feel safe to do so. Ask the victim how you can support them. Free bystander training is available to the public and even more good tips to know. (SLT link)

Make sure to sign up for FREE to receive i3 React Alerts about upcoming and ongoing protests to keep safe during your holidays.