A Tip Sheet for Joining the Trump Protests

From making signs to securing your smartphone to getting a lawyer on the fly, here’s how to get prepared before you hit the streets.

Jessica Christian/SF Examiner

Donald Trump has been sworn in as president and the protests are already underway. If you plan to join the demonstrations this weekend but you’re not exactly a professional protester, here are some tips on making signs, staying safe, securing your smartphone, and even quickly getting a lawyer should things get crazy out there.

The Basics

Be prepared for rain. Bring snacks and water. Charge your phone to full power beforehand. If you’re marching with friends, establish a buddy system and decide upon a rendezvous point should you get separated. Understand that your cellular reception might be weak to non-existent, so you may be unable to call or text one another.

And make a great protest sign with some tips from 99 Design.

Register for Your March

If you’re participating in one of the Bay Area Women’s Marches, they do ask that your register online using the “Register for the Event” button on the San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose march pages. Most of the other demonstrations do not ask for registration, but you may wish to RSVP on their Facebook invites to let organizers know how many people to expect. At the same time, realize any posts to those pages may be viewable by law enforcement.

Need a Lawyer, Fast?

We encourage everyone to protest as peacefully as possible, but also realize that both peaceful and violent protesters may find themselves under arrest. The National Lawyer’s Guild SF Bay Area is offering a free Demonstrations Defense Hotline this weekend with attorneys and legal advice for those who’ve been arrested. The number is (415) 285-1011, and you may want to write that number down.

Secure Your Smartphone

As we discussed in our privacy tips for activists, it is imperative that you lock your phone with a passcode. After all, your phone is likely to be confiscated by law enforcement in case of arrest. The Electronic Freedom Foundation’s Tips for Protesters page also recommends disabling the fingerprint unlock feature (if you use it) and stripping location data from your pictures and videos should you take any.

Ninja-Level Smartphone Security

Organizers of protests and those who genuinely fear targeted surveillance should take extra steps to secure their communications. Putting your phone in Airplane mode prevents the tracking of your location, though does prevent you from calling or texting. An app called Signal (for iOS and Android) is generally considered the best encryption app for your private messages. If you really need to communicate and genuinely feel you’re a surveillance target, consider a prepaid mobile disposable phone.

This weekend is just the beginning. Our Guide to Surviving Trump’s America contains additional tips on how to get elected officials to listen, how to help communities are that most threatened, and how to pace yourself while saving the world.

It’s going to be a long four years. But if we’re diligent, it’s only going to be four years.

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