Millions have been joining protests across the world to call for an end to police brutality, following the death of George Floyd, and unarmed black man whilst in police custody. While protests in the UK have so far been peaceful, with the exception of one journalist being attacked on Wednesday’s march, protests can sometimes go wrong, particularly when feelings are running high around a subject, and confrontations with the police have been common throughout the American protests.
Black Lives Matter, a civil rights organisation, has been putting on protests since Mr Floyd died last week, which have been well documented in the media.
The protests are calling for an overhaul of the American criminal justice system, after decades of violence at the hands of the police against black Americans.
All four police officers involved in the George Floyd case have now been charged, but the fight continues for other black people who have died in police custody and not been awarded any justice for losing their lives.
Here are some simple ways to keep yourself safe and comfortable at any protest:
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Wear a face mask
The coronavirus pandemic is still far from over in the UK, despite the lifted restrictions.
In the UK everyone has a right to peacefully protest even in a pandemic, something Boris Johnson agreed earlier this week.
But to minimise the risk to yourself and others, wear a face mask and practice social distancing where possible.
Designate a buddy
If you go in a group, designate buddies for each other and promise to stick close by each other.
This helps minimise the risk of getting lost on your own, and if you get separated you have someone to stick with.
Also arrange meeting points and times just in case anyone gets seperated.
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Wear comfortable shoes
It should go without saying, but wearing comfortable shoes is key, even if you’re only going to a sit-in protest.
Wear closed-toe shoes – it’s very likely someone will stand on your feet at some point, even though crowds should be following social distancing advice currently.
Also bring plasters and blister pads, just in case your shoes let you down.
Have your emergency contacts prepared
Using ICE at the end of their name, designate your emergency contacts in your phone.
Protests rarely turn violent in the UK, but it’s wise to have them prepared just in case anything else happens to you, such as falling ill.
Be aware that phone signal can be pretty bad in a protest when there’s a lot of people around.
Bring essential items
Even if you plan on being home in time for tea, you should bring with you anything that you would need if you got caught out.
This mostly means medication, but also bring foods that will give you plenty of energy and lots of water.
Protests are generally friendly places but do not share your supplies with anyone else currently, considering the coronavirus pandemic.
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