Campaigning and Demonstrating
As parkrun grows globally there is the risk of various groups attempting to use our events to gain traction for their campaigns, and/or attempting to influence or change our policies and procedures. Instances of campaigns and demonstrations at parkrun events have grown over recent years and can be relatively spontaneous and therefore difficult to plan for.
Whilst we absolutely support peoples’ rights to peaceful campaigning, these actions can place additional stress on event teams, both in terms of operational implications at events themselves and broader impacts through things such as social and mass media channels.
Where there is a campaign or demonstration at or likely to impact a parkrun event, the following points should be considered:
Can the event still go ahead safely?
Is there any risk to the safety of parkrunners or other users of the area? If so, then these should be appropriately mitigated if possible, and if not then the event should be cancelled. For guidance around event cancellation, please see here.
Is the course blocked or likely to be blocked by the campaign or demonstration?
If the official course is blocked or likely to be blocked, in a way that cannot be overcome by a simple and accurately risk-assessed diversion, then the event should be cancelled.
Is there a risk to the participants or other users of the area even if the event is cancelled?
If, despite cancelling the event, there remains a risk to the health and safety of those who are present, then the relevant authorities should be called (usually this would be the police).
What if the event can proceed safely despite the presence of a protest or demonstration?
If the event is safe to go ahead, the Run Director should:
- Ask the campaigners/demonstrators not to approach participants directly or hand out leaflets to individuals.
- In the first-timers and pre-event briefings, inform all participants that parkrun is not associated with the campaign/demonstration.
- Be respectful to the campaigners/demonstrators as they will normally have a right to conduct their activities peacefully on public land.
- Log an incident after the event with as much information as possible.
What about social media or other communication channels?
- Any requests for comment or any emails received in relation to the protest should be forwarded to parkrun Head Office via email@example.com
- Where possible, events should avoid commenting on social media, and any posts relating to the protest should be screenshot, shared with parkrun Head Office via firstname.lastname@example.org and hidden from view if possible.
- When publishing photos of the event on social media, please take care to remove any photos that may reference the campaign/demonstration.