I’m going to a protest. What do I need to know?

1. Think about what to wear and what to bring

Avoid wearing a mask when attending a protest, except for health reasons such as during COVID-19. It's not a crime to wear a mask. But it is a crime to wear a mask or disguise yourself while doing something illegal. For example, it's a crime to wear a mask while taking part in a riot. Even if your protest is legal, if you're wearing a mask and the legal protest changes into an illegal one, then you're more likely to be .

If there's a chance the protest could become chaotic or violent, wear comfortable shoes and clothes that let you move quickly. Long sleeves and pants can help prevent injury.

What to bring

Things you may want to bring include:

  • water and snacks
  • earplugs for when the protest gets loud
  • enough cash to get home
  • pen and paper, to help remember details of specific incidents at the protest
  • protective goggles and gloves, in case of tear gas
  • essential medicine; if there's a chance you'll be arrested bring enough for 3 days
  • ID, such as a driver's licence, in case the police ask for it

     

What not to bring or wear

Things you should not bring or wear include:

  • anything containing sensitive or private information
  • illegal drugs
  • weapons or items that may be considered weapons
  • contact lenses, as they may trap tear gas in your eyes
  • makeup, as tear gas may stick to your face

Cell phones

Cell phones can be helpful to stay connected. Use a secure communication app such as Signal.

You're allowed to record the police, but you cannot get in their way while recording. You also should not follow the police around to film them as that could be considered .

In some situations the police can take your phone away as . If this happens, it can take a long time to get it back.

Before the protest, backup all your important information and photos. Some people also delete personal information from their phones.

Usually the police need a to search your cell phone. To lower the risk of the police going through your phone, turn off fingerprint or facial recognition options that unlock it. Use a password instead. You don't have to tell the police your password if they ask for it. If you do, they may think you're giving them permission to search your phone.

Don't rely on phone numbers saved in your phone. Memorize phone numbers for a family member and a lawyer that you can call if you're arrested. Some protesters write phone numbers on their body with a marker.

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