Protest Tips

On January 20, 2017 Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. After a highly contested and controversial election, many people are upset by this and are planning to protest.

Nearly 1 million people are expected to attend the inauguration, and many of them will be protesting the inauguration and during the Women's March on January 21st. has put together a complete guide to protesting, and we have highlighted some of the main points.

Protesting is legal when non-violent, and embraces the First Amendment. The First Amendment allows the freedom of speech, freedom of the people to peaceably assemble, and allows petition of the Government for grievances. Martin Luther King Jr. believed nonviolent protest is the most direct way to enact change.

If you are one of those who is planning on protesting, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you stay safe:


  • Pack belongings carefully. Rain is expected on the day of the inauguration.
  • Wear comfortable, weather resistant shoes, preferably boots, since you may be standing for hours on end.
  • Wear layers. The weather is expected to change throughout the day and night of the inauguration. If tear gas is used by law enforcement, it may penetrate a few layers of clothing.
  • Bring a scarf. It can keep you warm and help breathing in the case of tear gas.
  • Bring a poncho. Protects you from the rain and from chemicals used by law enforcement.
  • Keep your ID/cash/list of contacts in a Zip-lock bag. With the amount of people downtown, cell phones coverage will be very slow and spotty at best, and most likely will not connect at all.
  • Water. Seems obvious, but with the amount of people expected to be at the inauguration, it may not be easy to obtain drinking water.


  • If you choose to protest, stay with the main group. Larger groups are harder for police to break up.
  • If you see crowd control methods being employed (tear gas, pepper spray, etc.) it's best to walk away.
  • Do not engage or encourage the taunting of law enforcement officials.
  • Many different branches of law enforcement will be on the premises. Keep in mind their job is to keep everyone safe.
  • There will be many uniformed law enforcement departments, and many plain clothed ones as well. Just because there may not be any uniformed officers in immediate sight does not mean there are no officers around.
  • Be aware law enforcement does not necessarily need much provocation to employ crowd control tactics.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images


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