Introduction from Leo McGrady, Q.C.:
I have written this paper to inform you of your rights when dealing with the police at public demonstrations. It is designed to help you exercise your right to engage in non-violent protests and civil disobedience, and to avoid committing any criminal offence. It is also designed to assist you in the event you are arrested.
This is a further revision of a presentation made at a conference held on December 7, 2012 at S.F.U. Harbour Center in Vancouver. The conference was entitled Days of Dissent: Rights Under Attack in Canada. It was sponsored by Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Amnesty International, the Council of Canadians, and the New Media Journalism Program, S.F.U. Continuing Studies.
The original Protesters’ Guide was written in 1968–70, to assist those demonstrating in opposition to the Vietnam War, revised for the War Measures Act in September of 1970, and then revised again in 1973 to address protests against U.S. sponsoring of the Chilean military coup.
It has gone through many revisions over the intervening years. A significant revision was made in 2009, and was intended to assist those who opposed the loss of many of our basic freedoms during the Olympics and who wished to express that opposition in the form of non-violent civil disobedience.