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Training role-play #5 - Activist legal support

Activist legal support (30 minutes)

Ask group to brainstorm on paper or split into small groups to develop activist legal support needs for each of the headings below: It may be valuable to use current campaign or action to focus discussion.

Before arrest prepare with your affinity group to have a legal support person who will be in contact with the legal team, inform yourselves about the law, plan for the possibility of arrest and consequences, and any non-compliance tactics you may want to use (e.g. response to arrest, leaving ID with the support person).

During arrest focus outwards notice who is witnessing the arrest, what are the circumstances, think of ways to support the people being arrested, stay calm and maintain dignity.

After arrest Get in touch with the legal team, report the arrest, write down information (times, badge numbers, etc.) as soon as possible.

Before detention think about the things you may need in detention (medicine, etc.), the people who should be contacted (family, work...) or things that should be done (feeding pets...).

During detention communicate with the people who you are detained with and support each other, identify vulnerable members of the group and try to find ways to protect them from oppression. Use group decision-making to decide if you want to engage in non-compliance (e.g., refusing to identify, passive resistance, refusal to wear clothes, hunger strikes, etc...) or other tactics, and what the goals of such tactics are. Don't pressure others into using non-compliance tactics. For people on the outside, this means not forgetting about people on the inside, and letting them know we are there for them, even if they are in for a while.

After detention don't be afraid to talk about your experiences detention can be traumatic, and you may not feel the effects right away. Be there to support others when they leave detention.

Court solidarity the trial can be a long and isolating process, especially if you plead not guilty, and you will need to support each other throughout both inside and outside of court. This will also involve helping to raise funds for defence, and helping to keep track of everyone as they go through the system. There is nothing more depressing than being the one person in a large group who happened to get charged with a political "crime", and finding yourself alone during your court appearances. Be there to support your friends, comrades, fellow activists.