I'm leaning towards interviewing the protesters in the crowd. I figure that's the best way to tell the story. On the one hand, I haven't heard of any major violence breaking out lately during protests, but on the other hand, I want to prepare in advance and be as safe as possible.
I used to film for my local news station, and it sometimes required me to go on scene during rough events. Things you can do to keep yourself safe:
(1) Make sure you are clearly marked/identified as press (will help with police and protesters/counterprotesters alike
(2) Don't go alone.
(3) Carry your phone and a walkie-talkie in case you get separated.
(4) Don't take more than you absolutely need. It is not the time to carry extra gear.