How to organize a peaceful ECT protest

The ICBE had an ECT protest in Ottawa on May 11, 2008

The ICBE had an ECT protest in Ottawa on May 11, 2008

Here are some tips I have learned over 20 years of organizing peaceful protests.  If you need any more help, you can email Sue: or call her at:  613-721-1833 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

1.   Plan your event a few weeks before.   Get some friends, family and supporters to help you.

2.  Plan a date and time and place for your event.

3.  Make a poster if you can and send it out by fax or email and by hand as to many people as you       can about 2 weeks before the event.

4.  Plan a meeting and get all your supporters together and let them pick the jobs they would like to do.

5.  Get a permit from your local city hall so you can protest.   It is free.   Keep a copy of your permit with you at the protest.

6.  Write a press release to send to the press.   Tell the 5 w’s.  Who, What, When, Where, Why

Sample Press Release is below:


January 6, 2009



Date:  Feb 3, 2009, Wednesday

Place:  ABC Hospital, 200 Main Road (City)

Time:   1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at front entrance of hospital

Contact Person:   Mary  Doe 555-555-5555,       cell phone ……..  email address……….

The ECT committee for Thompson City is having a peaceful ECT protest at the ABC Hospital

because Mr. John Doe is being forced to have ECT against his will……….  Mr. Doe says…….


Send the press release to as many media as you can.   Newspapers, radio and TV stations in your area.

Send the press release one week before and then 3 days before.   Send it twice.

If the organizer has a cell phone, some media may not be able to make the event but may call you while you are at the event to ask the organizer a few questions.    Put the a land line number and cell phone number on the press release if you can and an email address.

Make the press release one page if you can.  Put a contact name and phone number to be the spokesperson for your group.   Bring some of the press releases along with you at the protest and give them to the press as they can read and know what your protest is all about all the issues.

7.  Make signs with slogans, make up some songs for the protests or use songs that you know if you want to.  Bring a megaphone, whistles, drums, noisemakers etc.  

8. On the day of the event, be on time as the media usually shows up early.  Get someone to be your spokesperson that the press can go to.   Ask the press for their business cards if they  have one.

You want to keep track of the press that are supportive and invite them to your next protest

9  Bring a camera or a video camera to keep a record of your protest.  

10.  Look for your articles in the media and cut them out and keep a press book of all your events.

11.  Keep a list of persons who showed up at your protest with their phone numbers so you can call them again for another event.

12.  Don’t do the organizing all by yourself it is just too much work – get others to help you.

13.  Most of all have fun.


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