How to Best Prepare for Your Next Protest
It’s almost the weekend, and if you’re in the US right now, that could mean that you’re about to go out and join a peaceful protest.
Well, regardless of how peaceful you think the protest is going to be, there’s a strong chance the police are going to show up and ensure things get bloody.
So if that happens, you’ll need to be prepared for the worst.
Here are some considerations you should make before heading out onto the street.
If you’re going to meet your friends before heading out to the protest, make sure you’re not organising your plans on Zoom.
Zoom is giving the FBI a backdoor into peoples calls, so it’s possible that if you’re arrested, your Zoom call could be used as evidence against you in court.
Instead of Zoom, it’s a good idea that you organise your meetup on something that’s better encrypted, like Signal, or something equivalent.
Preparing your phone.
You’re probably going to use your phone as a recording device during the protest, and possibly as a way to communicate if you find yourself hiding from the police in a dark corner.
If you’re planning on taking your phone, ensure that you make it as difficult as possible for the police to use it against you.
The police are able to force you to unlock your phone using face or thumbprint unlocking, so make sure you turn those features off before leaving the house.
Instead, choose the most difficult and inconvenient way possible for getting into your phone.
If your phone has the ability to use both letters and numbers, use that. If you’re only able to use numbers, ensure the passcode is as as long as possible.
Once you’re out of the house, turn on airplane mode whenever you don’t absolutely need to send a message or make a call.
Cell towers and even nearby wifi spots can be used to trace and track you, and this data can be presented against you in court.
Don’t wait to put videos online
While at the protest, if you capture footage of police brutality on your phone, turn off airplane mode and get it online immediately.
There’s a chance that something may happen to your phone before you’re able to find your way home.
If you’re arrested or singled out by a member of the police, your phone could be confiscated, and even if they can’t get in, the phone can be smashed.
Dealing with being teargassed
If you’ve had tear gas sprayed on you, CNN Health has some advice.
According to their article, don’t touch anywhere on your face that has come in contact with the chemical.
Rubbing your eyes after they’ve been gassed will only make things worse.
Instead, pour a mixture of baking soda and water over your eyes and face to relieve the burning sensation, then go and have medical treatment.
You can read more at Healthline.
Prioritise your safety over your emotion
In the heat of the moment, you may want to yell or do something bold.
However, the last thing in the world you want is to become the latest victim of police brutality yourself.
Keep at a safe distance from the police, and ensure you have an exit route. As soon as the mood of the scene has reached your animosity comfort-level, get the hell out of there.
Unfortunately, people are going to be hurt either way. But if the difference between keeping and losing an eye is standing a few rows back and keeping an exit path open, it may not be such a bad idea.
Here are some items you can consider bringing with you to protect yourself from police brutality.
- Googles or face shield, to protect from tear gas.
- Bike helmet, to protect from head trauma.
- Umbrella, apparently this will stop rubber bullets.
If you’d like to see a running tally of police brutality incidents documented on Twitter, you can check out this Google Doc being regularly updated by Greg Doucette and Jason E Miller.
They have links to Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and descriptions of what’s been captured in the footage. A warning, some of the footage is shocking.
Lastly, a lot of people are being arrested, and many of these people can’t pay the bail they need to get out.
If you’d like to help, The Bail Project is a not for profit organisation that helps people pay their bail when they can’t pay it themselves.
Their website says they’re a..
“non-profit organisation designed to combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system — one person at a time.”
Here’s a link to their website if you’d like to know more, donate, or get in contact if you or someone you love has been arrested. (You can call them at (323) 366–0799 if you need their help with bail).
Please stay safe out there, and keep yourself informed. Below are links to some useful articles with information that could help.