Staying Safe at a Protest

If you’re planning to attend a protest in the near future, COVID-19 will still be a risk and it’s never been more important to protest safely.

In the UK we have the right to protest peacefully. However, at present, we are still experiencing the affects of global pandemic. Whilst many of the rules around social distancing and gathering in large groups have been lifted, deciding if you attend a protest is a deeply personal choice. 

If you choose not to protest, you shouldn’t feel bad about this, there are plenty of other ways to support – such as online or by writing to groups/representatives about the things you are passionate about.

If you do decide to attend a protest, we advise the following:

General Advice for Attending Protests

  • Tell someone close to you that you are attending the protest and when you expect to return, especially if you are going alone
  • Make a (socially distanced) group with friends you know. If you are marching, arrange a meeting point at the destination in case you get split up
  • Stay hydrated, take plenty of water with you
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
  • If the weather is expected to be hot, take a hat sunglasses and sunscreen

Advice for Attending Protests During a Pandemic

  • Form a buddy group with your household or friends and minimise your interaction with strangers/other groups
  • Maintain social distance of two metres where possible
  • Take hand sanitiser with you and avoid touching others or equipment/banners others have used
  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • If you are using disposable masks, take a few and change as soon as they become damp. Remember to dispose of these safely.
  • Shouting can spread droplets, which can spread the virus. Consider using signs to express yourself or take other noisemakers like a loud hailer or drums 
  • Take water but don’t share it with other people
  • Avoid touching your face and in bright weather weather, use sunglasses, as added protection from droplets

Consider Your Potential To Spread The Virus

Before attending a protest, you should assess your own condition, risk and ability to spread the virus. If you feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms DO NOT attend. Even outdoors and with social distancing measures you could pass the virus on. 

Don’t forget that other protesters could be from, or live with, high-risk groups and you could pass the virus on to them. Similarly, if you live with or are in contact with anyone in a high-risk category, consider your potential for transmitting the virus before attending.

If you decide not to go to a protest, because you do not feel comfortable or because you are concerned about COVID-19 symptoms, remember that it does NOT mean that you don’t support the cause. There are plenty of ways you can participate and support from home.