Up next in How to Enact Political Change (20 videos)
Enacting political change takes more than good intentions -- these Howcast videos will help you get down to brass tacks.
You Will Need
- Something to protest
- Emergency contact information
- Cool head
- Wallet-size cards
Determine your aims
Pinpoint your aims. Although a protest expresses opposition or disapproval, also use it to get across what you support.
Decide on the form of protest
Decide what form the protest will take. Marches, rallies, vigils, sit-ins, strikes, and boycotts are all effective methods. Choose the one that best fits your purpose.
Choose a location and time
Choose a location big enough to accommodate the expected number of protesters. If you can, pick a place with historical or cultural significance. To add symbolic meaning, choose a date for the protest that coincides with the anniversary of a well-known event.
Apply for permits
Investigate local regulations and apply for permits if your group requires them.
Pick a slogan
Come up with a nonviolent slogan or chant that is easy to remember and works well both out loud and in print. Symbols and actions can convey your point in any language.
Designate a leader to act as spokesperson. If the group is especially big, designate team leaders as well to oversee certain tasks and help with crowd control.
Invite respected leaders
Invite respected political, cultural, and religious leaders who support your cause. Recognizable faces can lend legitimacy and help calm a crowd, if necessary.
Gather contact info
Keep a record of all planned protest participants and gather information for emergency contacts and resources like lawyers and human-rights organizations.
Set up a meeting with protesters ahead of the demonstration. Run through what will happen at the protest itself, and discuss emergency procedures.
Think about contacting the media
Consider circulating a press release. In areas where restrictions on freedom exist, press attention, especially from international outlets, can help prevent abuses by authorities. However, keep in mind that the press can also exacerbate tension, and state-run media may have ulterior motives.
Respect public and private property
During the protest, respect property. Your protest will become less effective if the public sees images of demonstrators breaking windows, looting, or defacing buildings.
Keep speeches short
Make precise demands, rather than a laundry list of grievances. Keep speeches forceful but not incendiary, and avoid profanity or violent imagery. Setting a nonthreatening tone may help avoid arrest.
At the protest’s conclusion, disperse calmly and peacefully. Don’t forget to clean up after yourselves -- nobody likes a protester who litters.