When there’s a threat to the peaceful coexistence of a community, protests are inevitable. That’s because the ability of societies to thrive lies in the participation of its members. Hence, like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Silence becomes cowardice when the occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
Advocacy within the Law
Contrary to what certain people believe, protests and advocacy can be within the law. Protests are mostly never orchestrated to be violent. There are often oppositions, and one thing leads to another. Peaceful public demonstrations are part of the ways to achieve that. With the rate of injustice and breach of societal and environmental rules, protests are now even more prevalent.
Things to Know
Marches are organized for various causes, from climate change and gay rights to racist killings by police officers. There are several things each individual should know about advocacy. One of the essential elements is that every citizen should have an awareness of their rights. It enables people to understand when those rights are violated and the appropriate course of action to take.
With the increased number of protests in recent times, everyone must know how to ensure their safety while protesting. It would be best if you took specific measures even before you leave your home to prepare yourself for whatever situation(s) you might encounter. Below are some vital steps to take.
1. Go with Someone
We always advise that when going for a protest, you don’t go alone. Instead, go with a friend or a group of people you know who are interested in the same cause. This arrangement helps you to keep track of each other so that nobody goes unaccounted. You should stick together, but if not, determine a rendezvous point for when you’re ready to leave.
2. Plan Your Routes
Depending on whether you’re going with your friend or group, or meeting them at the demonstration venue, you should plan your routes. Some major roads or streets may be closed off, and you might have to find alternative ways. Hence, this should be done early. Make plans both for arriving and for leaving and make sure everyone is in the loop.
3. Dress Smartly
In addition to dressing suitably for the weather conditions, you should ensure that you are comfortable in whatever you wear. You should be able to move freely and run where necessary, so sneakers are the recommended footwear. Don’t wear any excessive jewelry, or, if possible, don’t accessorize. Also, if you have long hair, endeavor to pack it into a bun or any other composed style.
4. Try to Stay Reachable
You must make sure to charge your phone before you leave home. There must be an open line of connection between you and whoever you’re going with, especially if you aren’t going to be together at the protest. Besides, it would help if you let at least one person who isn’t going to be there know where you are.
5. Have Your Care Kit
This personal care kit is necessary for a number of reasons, which include the preservation of your health. It should consist of a bottle of water or two, some energy snacks, and possibly a first aid kit. If you have a medical condition such as asthma or diabetes, make sure to pack your inhaler or insulin pen and any other medications you might need.
6. Have Your Identification
It’s essential to have a means of identification on you. An ID is necessary so that if anything happens or things get physical, and the police come, you’d have a way to identify yourself. People underestimate the importance of this because they’re thinking about not carrying too many personal effects.
7. Be Orderly
Orderliness is necessary to prevent the outbreak of a fight even amongst people on the same side. You must be calm and courteous, endeavor not to shout out curses or abuses to people on the opposite side. Although, if something happens to make people run, don’t stay still to avoid being pushed down and trampled on. Do your best to keep social distancing rules as well.
8. Wear a Mask and Goggles
Going for a protest, coupled with the ongoing pandemic, you must protect your nose and mouth. Most people recommend the N95 masks, but if you don’t have that, you can wear a regular one. You also have to carry a bandanna, which you can quickly wet to cover your nose if they throw tear gas. Also, goggles are essential to protect your eyes, and a shatterproof brand would be best.
9. Carry Your Permit
This step is perhaps one of the most important if you’re organizing a protest. You must have written to the authorities in charge and gotten a permit. If you don’t do that, then the demonstration would be illegal, and everyone involved could get arrested. The police could imply that if you don’t produce it upon request. Stay safe.