Staying Safe While Protesting

Prepare!

  • Write the Bay Area National Lawyers Guild legal hotline on your arm in sharpie: 415.285.1011
  • Be hydrated!
  • Don’t protest alone. Make a plan to get there. Set a location to meet at if people are separated. Determine your risk level ahead of time. Stay together.
  • Always be assessing your surroundings. Know which direction to go in if you need to run. Keep in mind where your transportation away from the event is.
  • Maintain social distancing as much as possible.
  • Avoid running. Walk quickly as much as possible. Run only as a last resort.
  • Be mindful of press interactions. We are here to support our comrades killed by cops or threatened by cops. If somebody asks to interview, pass them to a core event organizer first. If speaking to the press do not represent DSA directly without press training.
  • A special precaution for these protests: These protests have been specifically convened to oppose police violence against people of color. Lighter-skinned members of DSA should follow the lead of the event organizers. If the cops threaten us and our presence is needed, we should step up. Don’t leave our black and brown comrades exposed to police repression.
  • In case you are arrested, give the following information to someone who is not attending a protest:
    • What is your full name that you will be processed as?
    • What gender do you want to be processed as? *consider what binary you would be most comfortable with from the inside and how you will get treated
    • What is your birthdate?
    • Who should we call if you get arrested?
    • What should we tell them?
    • What support will you need in the next three to five days? (street sweeping, paying bills, taking care of pets/kids, calling your work)
    • Would you need financial help?
    • What is your health insurance?
    • What hospital would you like to be taken to?
    • Who should we call in a medical emergency?
    • Call the National Lawyers Guild public line at 415-909-4654 to let them know you were arrested.
  • Set your social media to private. It is a good idea to: untag yourself from pictures, remove where you work and live, remove photos of your vulnerable family members.
  • Disable Touch and FaceID on your phone, or better yet, leave your phone at home.
  • Message securely using Signal.
  • If you do go out to protest, consider self-quarantining for two weeks after your contribution to the movement is finished. Consider getting a COVID test five days after exposure. 

 

What to Wear:

  • A face covering, both for COVID protection and to avoid identification.
  • A change of clothes. You may be exposed to tear gas which will stay in the fibers of your clothes.
  • Closed toe shoes. Be able to run away if you need to.
  • Weather appropriate clothes. Be ready for temperatures to dip if the sun goes down.
  • Goggles will help protect you from tear gas.
  • Try not to wear easily identifiable clothes. Cover tattoos and other identifiable markings.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in. You may have to move quickly.

Avoid:

  • Contact lenses. Tear gas will stick to them.
  • Makeup could cause a chemical reaction; tear gas will stick to it.
  • Jewelry could become caught or cause further inflammation if you are injured.
  • Touching face. If tear gas is used, DO NOT RUB EYES

Bring:

  • Extra masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer for others.
  • A wet bandana (store in a plastic bag) to wear over your nose and mouth if tear gas is used.
  • Snacks!
  • Water bottles (two per person)
  • If you have any allergies or take prescription medication, carry a 3 day supply with you, along with original packaging.
  • An extra battery charger if you intend to take video with your phone (do not post protestor’s faces).
  • A spray bottle or squirt top water bottle for rinsing eyes: only use water.
  • Sunscreen
  • Bandaids, Ace bandage, gauze

If you are arrested:

  • DO NOT TALK TO THE COPS. The only things you should say are:
  • Am I under arrest?” If you are not, they must let you go by law.
  • “I am exercising my right to remain silent. I want to speak with a court-appointed lawyer.” If you have a lawyer already, give that name instead, if you’d like. Your constitutional right to silence is only valid if invoked. Simply remaining silent is insufficient to bar using your silence against you. Invoke your rights but don’t say any other words. A public defender will help you get out.
  • Call the National Lawyers Guild hotline. 415.285.1011
  • If you are Black or Brown, let the NLG know so they can prioritize getting you out.
  • Tell the NLG hotline of dietary restrictions
  • Try to tell other arrested people this info and give them the hotline number if possible.

If you have questions, reach out to us at info@siliconvalleydsa.org

Thank you to our comrades at East Bay DSA and DSA LA for much of this info!