Planning a protest is typically the easy part – getting people to show up and commit to the action is more difficult. With the right organizing skills and priorities any group can hold a protest that attracts not only an impressive number of supports, but also the attention of the media and politicians.

Basic considerations

First of all, when looking at a location double check local bylaws. Some cities require protesters to have permits for certain areas, such as Parliament Hill. Getting a permit is good way to ensure the police have no reason to hassle protesters and also gives you rights to a contested space. For example, if you’re planning to protest an anti-choice group, obtaining a permit can be the difference between getting kicked out of the area by their security or being able to legally stand your ground.

Create a hype. Use social media like facebook and twitter to get the word out. This guide details how to deal with mainstream media. Don’t forget to announce your protest to alternative media outlets by posting on event pages or offering to write articles about your campaign. Post on alternative forums.

Invite other social justice groups to come speak at the protest. Be creative in your action. Sometimes it’s important to just be an opposing presence, other times you can use skits, reenactments or tableaux to better make your point.

Just in case you’ve missed something, In Defense of Animals has put together a last minute demonstration checklist.

How to Guides

There are a ton of great guides out there specific to the type of event that’s getting planned. Some of the best are:

Planning a trans day of remembrance vigil 

Tips on flash mobs 

Strategic organizing for any action 

Practical protest techniques

Direct action handbook