Guidelines for Protesting Peacefully

When you protest, you want your message to have maximum impact on the public and institution you are protesting against.


Non-violent protests are a way to get your issue heard without violence to mar the event. Here are guidelines to help you prepare for a non-violent demonstration.

Decide how important the issue is to you. Don't waste time if you're just planning to annoy the opposition. You want to deliver a clear and focused message.

Determine your municipality's legal requirements for holding a protest, and whether you need a permit.

For the uninitiated, instruct them on non-violent engagement. Impress upon them their responsibility to avoid responding either verbally or physically to the opposition.

Refine your message. Get people's attention by using as few words as possible, making them dramatic and memorable.

Prepare a thought-out press release. State who, what, why, when, and where of your protest event. Edit and proofread, double-checking facts before sending it to news media. Also build a website dedicated to the issue.

Try to align the protest with a significant company event to get more media coverage. For example, consumers protesting Wal-Mart's employee policies held their protest during the days leading up to Black Friday.

Vet protestors to find out if they support the issue, and they are in agreement with how you will conduct the protest. Be cautious accepting any last-minute demonstrators just arrived from out-of-state. They are likely agitators looking for trouble.

Call law enforcement. Let them know the details of your event and reach an understanding of what logistics may be required to successfully stage it.

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