Stay Safe; Stay Anonymous! #4 – Fashion Tips for Dissidents

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Whilst what you wear on a demo is on one level (quite rightly) unimportant, it can be used as a great tool to disrupt intelligence gathering activities. When such a large part of political policing rests on the ability to profile, identify, isolate (and subsequently harass) individuals and groups, it makes sense to be able to change the way you present yourself to the world when you are on the streets for a big demo. This helps make it harder for them to identify you in a crowd and harder to retrospectively piece together footage to make a coherent picture of yourself, the company you choose to keep and the movements you choose to make. Thus making the intimidation and harassment of participants much harder for them. Again, it is another perfectly legal way of FITwatching that can be used to great effect. We have already discussed Masking Up in an earlier post, so we wanted to make a more general point about what to wear.

On Wearing Black:

  • If you are on a section of the march where everyone is wearing black, make sure you wear PLAIN black clothing with no identifying features (logos, patches, coloured trimming or details). If you must, you can cover logos up with black tape, but this is not always advisable as tape falls off eventually. You can also use permanent marker if you wish.
  • Think of everything; socks, shoes, gloves, face mask etc…keep it black, plain and cheap (so it doesn’t matter if you decide to chuck it away at some point).
  • Wearing head-to-toe black is a great way to stay anonymous when everyone else is doing the same, but for all those times in between you will want to think about changing your appearance in other ways – have an alternative outfit to change into and maybe even a few extra accessories to mix it up a bit (different scarves, gloves, lightweight shoes etc.)
  • You might want to wear your rucksack under your jacket sometimes – this helps reduce identification but, more importantly, reduces the chances of having someone pull hard on your backpack and pull you towards them (sometimes causing a loss of footing). This can sometimes happen in dense crowd situations when there are surging movements forwards and backwards. Or you could cut the small ‘carry handle’ off your backpack, as others like to do.

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