Photo Essays

A Protester’s Guide: Simple Tips

A Protester’s Guide: Simple Tips

Tahrir Square, 2011

On June 30, nationwide protests are planned against Egypt’s President Morsi. Analysts have stated that this could easily rival the number of protesters witnessed during Egypt’s 2011 revolution. So, whether you are protesting against President Morsi, or in support of the President, here are some simple tips that each person going to demonstrate should keep in mind.

  1. Do not go alone. Let your friends and family know where you are going and with who. Ensure they have phone numbers of friends who are joining you in case your phone dies. If you leave without any notice, your family and friends will panic, and this would make it much harder for them to find you if you are arrested or are in an accident.

  2. Search where the demonstration is being held and make note of potential emergency exits and alternate routes in case any dangerous situation arises. When you get to the protest, make note of emergency services in case you need them.

  3. Check the weather. In Egypt, it is scorching hot, and so you will likely not need a rain coat or an umbrella. Instead, you’ll need sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water!

  4. Dress appropriately. You are not going to a club or to the beach. This is a protest that will involve plenty of walking, marching and possibly even running. You will be pushed, have your feet stepped on, and probably be in close contact to other equally sweaty people. Fireworks spray paint, and other substances may also easily ruin your attire. Do not wear your best polo shirt and favorite sun glasses or your favorite miniskirt and accompanying designer purse: a shirt, jeans and runners are just fine.

    Make shift hat for head protection? Scarf for tear gas? Comfortable clothing? Success!
  5. Take public transport. Or if you are driving, make sure you park in a location that is not too close to areas of protest, unless you want your car smashed. This will also allow you to quickly flee the scene if violence occurs.

  6. Take your wallet, but don’t fill it with money. Have small change that would allow you to purchase water or other supplies at the event. It can be easy to lose your wallet while running around (or worse: it can be stolen).

  7. Ensure you have some form of identification on you at all times. Certain protest zones have civilian checkpoints that require you present your ID before entry. This is also important if you are injured and paramedics or a hospital needs to identify you and contact your family.

    Unless you are sure it will be a safe environment, try to avoid taking children to volatile protest zones. This photograph was taken at Itihadeya Presidential Palace protests in December which witnessed minimal violence.
    Unless you are sure it will be a safe environment, try to avoid taking children to volatile protest zones. This photograph was taken at Itihadeya Presidential Palace protests in December which witnessed minimal violence.
  8. If you have the time, prepare and take your own supplies. Take a backpack and stuff it with water bottles, a scarf (in case of tear gas), flags and banners (to express your patriotism!), and other items you might find essential (like sunscreen, a lighter, a flash-light, and a spare phone battery in case yours runs out).

  9. Learn popular chants and slogans. You can probably pick these up during the protest, but it helps if you already know them beforehand so that you start chanting the second you arrive!

  10. Have a safe word. Protests can be rowdy and intense, and certain individuals might take advantage of that (for example through sexual harassment and assault). Let your friends that are accompanying you know what that safe word is, and so if you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, you can call it out and ensure they help you reach safety.

  11. Speaking of safety, safety always comes first. If possible, always ensure you are out of harm’s way. Your friends, family, and fellow protesters want to see you live to see the change you have chanted and fought for.

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