How to Pick a Time and Place

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on September 20th, 2005

Select a place for your demonstration that has important symbolic value and is also visible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

For example, you may have an arms factory located on an out-of-the-way road. In this case, an anti-war protest may have more impact at a war memorial downtown.

Symbolic dates are fine, but should not be stuck to if more people are likely to attend on a weekend.

Never hold a demonstration past 1 pm on Saturday. Newspapers go to bed early for their Sunday editions, and Saturday afternoon protests are rarely considered news on Monday morning.

One hour is usually an ideal amount of time for a protest. Longer demonstrations often lose participants.

Tell people who attend where you plan to stand and how you want them to comport themselves. Tense protests are better off held in silence.

A designated spokesperson and a leaflet are excellent ways to communicate your purpose. Add contact information to help people get involved with your cause. A list of “Things You Can Do” is also good to include on the leaflet.

In virtually all instances, so long as you are not on private property or blocking traffic, you do not need a permit to hold a demonstration in the US.

If police arrive, they are generally placated by a spokesperson telling them of the specific parameters of the protest and of your commitment to nonviolence.

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On September 23, 2005 at 13:04 Adam (Southern California) said:

    The Daily Kos had a bit on Dos and Don’ts at demonstrations, but the basic idea is “Stay on the message and leave the hippy-dippy stuff at home.”

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