2020 was a year defined by the pandemic—and by demonstrations.
From important social justice issues and the Black Lives Matter movement, to the results of the presidential election, people from all walks of life gathered to demonstrate in streets across the U.S.
We won’t delve deep into politics here, but we would like to talk about protest safety.
With that, here are four safety tips for demonstrators:
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
There’s a lot that goes into this. You’ll want to avoid demonstrating alone if at all possible, and stay calm and focused at all times. This means being aware of what people are doing in your vicinity, monitoring yourself and others for signs of physical and mental distress, and documenting controversial police or protestor actions when needed.
Be sure to let someone you trust know where you are at all times.
2. Dress appropriately.
The University of Michigan has compiled a valuable guide on protest safety, including a section on what to wear while demonstrating. A quick breakdown: You’ll want to cover as much skin as possible to protect yourself from exposure to harmful chemicals and the sun. This means you may choose to wear shatter-resistant swim goggles and a face mask.
Hats, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes are key as well.
3. Bring food and water.
Who knows what will happen throughout the day, or how long you’ll be outside? To stay safe and healthy, you should bring plenty of water with you—ideally with a squirt top or removable lid. Need an eye flush? Opt for a solution made of half-water and half-liquid antacid. Many protestors, you might have seen, rely on milk.
Additionally, snacks like bars, nuts, and fresh fruit will keep you feeling energized.
4. Know your rights.
Remember that everyone has the right to bring their opinions to the streets. The First Amendment allows all Americans to assemble and express their thoughts. So, keep in mind that as long as you aren’t obstructing traffic, you don’t need a permit to march in public. This also means you’ll want to keep your rights in mind while protesting.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created an expansive list of protestors’ rights to help ensure a safe experience. Be sure to review the material before demonstrating, and know exactly how to proceed if you think your rights have been violated.
Have questions about protest safety? Please contact us for more information on our services here at Umbrella Security Services, or to schedule your free consultation.