Protesting is a fundamental right in a democratic society. However, sometimes exercising that right can lead to getting arrested. If you are participating in a protest and are confronted by police officers, it is important to know your rights and what to do if you get arrested. In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to handle an arrest situation, based on the insights of a Montreal protester.
Firstly, it is crucial to understand that getting arrested does not necessarily mean you have done something wrong. Sometimes, police officers may arrest protesters as a means of controlling a crowd or preventing a situation from escalating. Therefore, it is essential to stay calm and collected, even if you feel frustrated or angry.
If you are approached by a police officer and asked to leave a protest area, it is important to comply with their orders. Refusing to obey a lawful order can lead to charges of obstruction or resisting arrest, which can further complicate the situation.
If you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent and to ask for a lawyer. It is important to exercise these rights, as anything you say can be used against you in court. When asked questions, simply say “I choose to remain silent” or “I want to speak to a lawyer.” It is also advisable to carry the phone number of a lawyer or legal aid service with you during a protest, in case you need to call for assistance.
When taken into custody, it is important to remain calm and cooperative with the police officers. Avoid making any sudden movements or gestures that could be perceived as aggressive. It is also important to listen carefully to the instructions given by the officers, as failing to comply with their orders can lead to additional charges.
Once in custody, you will be given the opportunity to make a phone call. Use this opportunity to call a lawyer or a trusted friend or family member who can assist you. It is important to keep in mind that phone calls made from police stations may be monitored, so avoid discussing sensitive or confidential information.
In addition to staying calm and exercising your rights, it is also important to document the arrest and any interactions with the police officers. If possible, take notes or record any conversations with the officers, as these may be useful in your defense. It is also a good idea to get the names and badge numbers of the officers involved in the arrest.
If you are released from custody, it is important to seek medical attention if you have been injured during the arrest. Even if you do not feel any immediate pain or discomfort, it is possible that you may have sustained injuries that are not immediately apparent. Document any injuries or medical treatment you receive, as this may be useful in your defense.
In conclusion, getting arrested during a protest can be a daunting experience. However, by staying calm, exercising your rights, and documenting the situation, you can increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Remember to comply with lawful orders, remain silent, and ask for a lawyer. With these tips in mind, you can assert your rights and defend yourself against any wrongful charges.