Changes to the law over the last ten years have made it important to contact the police in advance of any planned demonstrations. Whether you do this or not is up to you, but it is worth seeking legal advice before hand. Some legal information for demonstrations and protest is available from the Legal Defence Monitoring Group.
- Make your purpose clear. Have supporting leaflets available, and make sure that your placards are clearly visible.
- Be imaginative. An eye-catching focus will make your demonstration more effective than a bog-standard picket. You are also far more likely to get media attention if you have an amusing or inventive focal point.
- Have one or two members standing by to talk to people who challenge you or show interest. Make sure these people are well briefed on the issues you are campaigning about.
- Keep the atmosphere light-hearted.
- Inform the media, either by sending out an embargoed press release beforehand, or once you are underway.
- It is a legal requirement to make the police aware of your intentions in advance. However, they may decide not to allow you to protest.
- Do not inform the target in advance, as they may take out an injunction.
- If you are protesting on a privately owned piece of land, even just a strip in front of a shop, then the Criminal Justice Act 1994 allows for you to be arrested or moved on if you are deemed to have intent to obstruct, disrupt or intimidate 'lawful business'.