Marshal Training

MARSHAL TRAINING TIPS (Printer-Friendly Version)

This information is provided as a reference and cannot replace a Marshal Training.

1. THE ROLE OF MARSHALS AT AN ACTION:

To facilitate the action as planned;

To act as an information source between planners and demonstrators;

To help demonstrators be safe while and feel good about demonstrating;

To act as a buffer between police, hecklers and bystanders.


2. WHAT MARSHALS DO ON A PICKET:

Set up the moving picket; determine picket perimeters;

Keep the picket moving and intact;

Watch the perimeters; be aware of police and others' movements;

Lead chants; intervene on behalf of picketers (If the picket is barricaded there MUST be a way for people to enter and exit. This is your legal right.);

Show legal area limits, should civil disobedience occur;

Stay calm; Keep people around aware of what's happening;

Wear an armband distinguishing yourself as a marshall. 

Avoid carrying signs.

Be responsible for negotiating with the police for First Amendment rights.


3. WHAT MARSHALS DO ON A MARCH:

Front Marshals: lead at a slow pace, keep march moving steadily, watch for obstructions, help facilitate civil disobedience, if any occurs;

Side Marshals: block traffic at intersections (facing cars), watch perimeters, help facilitate civil disobedience, if any occurs;

Back Marshals: bring up the rear, set the pace, make sure no one gets left behind. 

What to do at street intersections:

Marshalls block traffic by forming a line across intersecting street;

(Many times the police will block traffic for us, but even if the police do this, then line up between the cops and the marchers).

Groups of marshalls need to get to the intersection first (leap frog other marshall lines to get to intersection).

Groups of 4 or 5 wait for the red light (when cars have stopped) and quickly slide out, holding hands, and FACE THE CARS.

When the march has gone by, don't dissolve until there is another red light to protect marshalls.

When you're rushing to get to the next intersection, try to make it seem as if you're not panicking or creating a riot.


4. WHAT MARSHALS DON'T DO:

Don't panic, ever.

Don't do the police's job, ever.


5. THE ROLE OF THE POLICE AT AN ACTION:

To protect property from damage;

To contain demonstrators, keep us from making a commotion.


6. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

DEALING WITH THE POLICE AND OTHER PROBLEMS


Question: What's Legal at An Action?

Answer:  A moving picket on a public sidewalk with signs and chanting;

Answer:  A sidewalk march with signs and chanting;

Answer:  Handing out leaflets to passersby without blocking way.


Question: What is a Permit Is Needed For?

Answer:  Sound amplification devices: The worst charge for using a sound device is a summons -- equivalent to a parking ticket -- police can also confiscate device)

Answer: Marching in the streets/street closure. (Usually ACT UP does not get a permit because the police ask too many questions about what we are doing, know too much about the action, and have too much control over us.)

Answer: Police: Bluff and Stall*; Stop, stand and wait; Stop and sit.

*Bluff and Stall: 

Tell the cop it's legal (whatever it is you're up to); Ask what law you're breaking, ask how you're breaking it (Remember that the police will not necessarily be truthful);

Demand to see their superior officer; send them to see their superior officer;

Keep insisting on your right to do what you're doing.

Remember that the cops are bluffing and stalling as well. The police don't necessarily want to arrest people unless you push them or threaten their dignity. If there is an injunction, ask for copies of it. The injunctions must show if there were any specific time and place restrictions.

If the march is large and well organized, it is difficult for the police to start arresting people.


Other Guidelines: 

Hecklers:  Face troublemakers; Isolate; Converse if possible, while march goes past.

In case of violence: isolate, separate.

Bring vocal attention to violent, harassing cops (i.e. get crowd to shout "shame, shame" while pointing at cop).

In case of a medical emergency: one marshal remains with injured person, another gets police.

NEVER touch a police officer.

Try to be calm during a confrontation with a cop.

If the entire crowd is in danger or panicking, tell everyone to SIT DOWN. 

This keeps people safer and more non-threatening; it takes control of the street space and allows you to regroup and regain composure.

While it's counter-intuitive, horses will not step on a person sitting down. 

The animals are more careful than the riders to look for firm ground.

Also - Wear sturdy shoes and clothes!

Marshal Training from ACT UP New York

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