Activist Rights

Plan for possible arrest

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There is always some risk of arrest with any action. Sometimes the risk is very small, other times it is expected.

Whatever the risk, you and your group should talk about the risk and have plans in place if arrests do happen.

If you know, or expect arrests, it’s a good idea to have a legal support team in place before the action.

Ideally, this would be with lawyers and legal workers who are trained to understand the principles of solidarity.

If you can’t organise this is advance, ask around for some lawyers you could call on for emergency help.

Inform people. Trainings and preparations should include basic legal and jail information.

Legal briefings can be offered before the action.

Handouts with basic information and phone numbers can be available at the action.

For more information on trainings see our training section.

Know what your solidarity strategy is, and include information about it in trainings and preparations.

Know who your political allies are that you can call on for support. Unions, NGOs, sympathetic politicians, Green Party members, religious groups and progressive mayors may not be willing to go out on the streets with you, but are often willing to help get people out of jail, or to pressure authorities to provide decent treatment.

Progressive journalists, and civil liberties groups and legal associations are often your best ‘safety net’ in terms of generating immediate public debate and support for your cause.

If one of your goals is to generate public support, or create a positive public image, its a good idea to think about how the public may see your action.

Be aware of how your actions and strategies can be used against you by authorities and the media.

If your group can be painted as being ‘extreme’, then it may be less likely that you will get public support and change peoples minds about your issue.

It can also give authorities an opportunity to increase repression of your group.

Since 9/11, governments and police have used words like ‘terrorist’ and ‘extremist’ to vilify and other activists.

If a good public image is important to your action, you should consider how your action could ‘play out’ in the media or whether it might alienate potential supporters.

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