Participating in a Protest? Know Your Rights

Protesting is a long-standing tradition of publicly speaking out against opinions, policies or politics with which you disagree, or perceived injustices. Demonstration, peaceful protest, and freedom of expression of one's beliefs, is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The First Amendment also applies to international visitors who are welcome to participate in lawful public demonstrations and protests. Before attending a public demonstration you should make preparations to ensure your safety and keep in touch with others in the event of an escalation. Please review the resources below and plan carefully.

Planning and Reducing Risks

Go with friends and have a back-up plan. Review Yale's practical guide on public demonstrations and crowds. 

Social Distancing

Please also keep in mind that these public demonstrations are taking place against the backdrop of COVID-19, which is still causing harm in our community. If you are joining a protest, please continue to follow the guidance on how to stay safe during this time. Wear your mask during the march, maintain 6 ft between you and others as far as possible, and carry hand sanitizer.

Your Rights as a Non-Citizen

Understand that you have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Do your homework and read about how to respond to immigration questions if you are stopped by police of other government officials (see bottom of page for translations in different languages.)

Comfort with Crowds

If you decide that you are not comfortable participating in person in a demonstration, remember that that there are many ways you can make a difference from home. There are many great resources for direct action which have already been collectively gathered and shared by our community.  A good place to begin researching New Haven community groups is Yale's Dwight Hall.

Additional resources