Non-violent Civil Disobedience – Dealing with Police


Firstly you do not have to do what police say, until they say you are under arrest.  If you are not blocking an entrance or shutting down a business, if you’re quiet they can’t do anything – not that many of them know that, I do because I won a court case over it last year.

If your protest is not prolonged 2 hours is reasonable I reakon when you inside a building, but anybody wanting to do longer should.

Be polite to police, do not swear at them, insult them ONLY if they insult you first (even then think twice about it).  If you are protesting about a worthy cause most of them will be on your side – just doing their jobs.  Of course you will ALWAYS come across the odd arsehole copper.

I dress up to go protesting, try to blend in, comfortable clothing though cause usually chalking around the streets as I go.  You will get less hassles from police if you are tidy and well presented.  Remember also they get trained in psychology so they’re manipulating you all the time.

There are some awesome police officers out there – wish there were lots more.  Don’t hate them all for what a few have done to you – hard not to I know.

Your arrest does not need to be physical, make sure you tell police there is no need of handcuffs, you are making a moral and political stand through civil disobedience.  Mostly they will get you for wilful trespass, because the people you holding to account won’t like it and will want you removed and never to come back.

Be prepared for handcuffs to hurt and ask for them to be removed as soon as you are back at the police station being processed.

You might have to do fingerprints which is freaky, pretty sure they still using machine that really hard to get print, takes ages and someone you don’t know is holding on to you – can be really hard if you an abuse victim.

You will have to take off all your jewellery, belts, scarves etc – so I don’t wear those things usually.

In some cases they won’t ask for all that, you will be let go straight from the processing room – that’s more for us regulars 🙂

Otherwise you will sign for all your stuff – including your phone and be put in a cell.  Usually a one person cell, but sometimes a male or female holding cell for multiple people.

You will have to answer questions about your health – I always say I have a disability, Complex PTSD and I verbalise what’s happening and what freaks me out as much as I can.  I also sing, recite poetry and tap out drum rhythms to keep me occupied.

When you’ve been arrested you usually got lots stress hormones on board, best to do physical activity in your cell until you calm down.  Singing, drumming good for that and remembering poetry, song lyrics etc keep your mind occupied.  Something those of us with claustrophobic tendencies need to do, also heightened fight & flight responses – can’t run from a locked cell.

If security or police get rough with you, make a formal complaint to police.  I walked out the back door of Wellington Police Station after being arrested at Bowen House, in the front door to make a complaint about one of John Key’s security guards being unnecessarily violent.  Ended up in him getting into trouble about it and an apology by his boss.  He wasn’t there to protect me Key’s ego, just his physical body, which I was not threatening.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *