It’s been the key factor in many historical changes and has shaped society incredibly. But how do you go about protesting without succumbing to the violent ‘riots’ that the press often splash across the front page?
How do you practice peaceful protest?
In Paris, during the COP21, an organisation called Alternatiba held a Global Village of Alternatives, which took place on December 5 and 6, as a way of highlighting other paths to climate change that societies around the world could adopt.
As part of this two day event, and because it’s been a part of climate talks and overall French history, a workshop was held by ANV COP21 to guide those who were interested through the art of non-violent protest.
Violence has always played a precarious role in protest and everyone involved is often quick to point the blame at the other, but here are ten of the best ways to ensure that your protest remains of the upmost professionality and respect.
The first five points deal with the protestor’s actions when unaffected by representatives of the law, and the second five deal with the protestor’s actions when confronted by such a person.
Violence can thrive during peaceful protest with no real indicator as to who was the original offender. If an instance of violence is about to occur, allow the organisers of the protest to intervene before it’s too late and distance yourself from the act and the actor.
If an instance of violence has occurred, distance yourself from the violator and verbally rebuke him or her. Also, raise your hands to show a lack of involvement with that particular individual.
Tear gas is not an uncommon deterrent for law enforcement and one must be prepared, if possible, for such an occurrence.
Preparing protective eye gear and clothing in advance is advised. If you don’t own such items, improvised devices such as tissues soaked in water can protest yourself and prevent serious pain.
Rubber bullets and stun grenades may also be used and organisers of the protest much address such issues accordingly.
Finally, be prepared, train, and be ready and able to take legal action if needed; these steps help ensure the safety of all participants and the longevity of the protest.
To find out more ways of participating in non-violent protest, visit ANV COP21.
All artwork by Oswin Tickler. Featured image by Antonin Rémond.