For those of you going to the Women’s March on Washington or any of the sister marches, check out the protest tips I’ve shared here.
I thought of a few more personal suggestions regarding potential protest infiltrators who are looking for a photo op or a way to instigate violence.
Should you see a few people quietly carrying pro-Trump signs but causing no trouble, I recommend ignoring them. There were a couple of very young women doing that at one New York protest I went to. The ladies didn’t look very enthused, so I wondered if they’d been paid — especially when they looked much happier when people confronted them. (Maybe they hoped to present their employer with great press photos of angry protestors confronting pretty, meek-looking girls?) There were thousands and thousands of protestors there. These two were totally lost in the crowd until people engaged with them.
On the other hand, if you encounter people in your midst who are carrying pro-Nazi or KKK signs, that’s more serious. They could be looking for a real, physical fight. According to this tip sheet, there will be march organizers on the sidelines. Try to find an official march volunteer to step in. Don’t be manipulated into starting a confrontation that will justify law enforcement stepping in, possibly violently.
The same thing goes for provocateurs who pretend to be Women’s March protestors in order to cast a bad light on the larger movement. I don’t think there was a final verdict about whether an offensive anti-Melania sign seen in photos last year was real or photoshopped, but I agree that photoshopped is the more likely answer. Should anyone try to pull that off in real life, try to find some official support to deal with the problem.
Don’t forget to take photos and videos of any suspicious behavior among protestors, law enforcement, or spectators. Go to the app store on your phone and search for ACLU. There is an app specifically for the D.C. march that will help you record and photograph actions, among other things. The ACLU also has a list of apps to record police conduct in different states here.
Once again, here is the UniteWomen.org tip sheet regarding law enforcement.
— Kat (@KMR31871) January 17, 2017
UPDATED TO ADD: Read this Twitter thread about the reality of police/protestor interactions. Remember that you REALLY don’t want to get into a problem with law enforcement.