Freedom Of Assembly

Freedom of assembly is the citizens’ right to publicly gather together to express, advocate and achieve shared needs. Assembly encompasses the right to express dissent through meetings, demonstrations, protests and strikes. This civil liberty is an essential complement to freedom of association and expression. Assembly is one of the citizens’ tools to engage with governing bodies, other forms of authority and multinational organisations. Indeed, assembly channels and magnifies the democratic will, including that of minority groups and urges interlocutors to take citizens’ perspectives into consideration.

The United Nations Human Rights Council stated that:

“The ability to assemble and act collectively is vital to democratic, economic, social and personal development, to the expression of ideas and to fostering engaged citizenry. Assemblies can make a positive contribution to the development of democratic systems and, alongside elections, play a fundamental role in public participation, holding governments accountable and expressing the will of the people as part of the democratic processes”.

Governing bodies have the duty to provide a safe and empowering environment for people to come together and express their views. This responsibility includes ensuring access to public spaces, supplying protection in favour of and punishing violence against citizens exercising their freedom of assembly.

According to CIVICUS, emerging trends limiting the right to peaceful assembly include policing techniques such as the use of excessive or unlawful violence and undercover tactics, illegal or unreasonable refusal of authorisation to gather peacefully, denial of protection from violent counter-demonstrations.

In recent years, several European governments undertook anti-terror strategies that left legal loopholes failing to protect or even eroding freedom of assembly in the name of security of public places. These measures often led to a transfer of powers from the independent judicial sector to prefects and police authorities, who now have more discretion in regulating assemblies in public spaces.

Read Latest Alerts:

(Greenpeace) Prievidza, Slovakia – The decision by a Slovakian court today to keep Greenpeace activists in detention until a trial takes place is unacceptable, Greenpeace said. The 12 activists from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Belgium protested peacefully against dirty coal by displaying banners on the mining tower of ...
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(European Civic Forum on CIVICUS Monitor) A governmental decree on security is currently being discussed in the Italian parliament. The decree covers a broader range of policy areas from migration to terrorism. It foresees the tightening of several regulations concerning public security, including some that might negatively impact freedom of assembly ...
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(350.org) Communities in Salento, in the southern ‘heel’ of Italy, are on the frontlines of the struggle to stop the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). If completed, TAP would connect with the Southern Gas Corridor, carrying billions of cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan to Italy every year from 2020. The pipeline would ...
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(European Civic Forum on CIVICUS Monitor) As fracking protestors are freed, questions still remain over the judge who jailed them https://t.co/osWbgVZ07z via @TheCanaryUK #FreeTheThree— Netpol (@policemonitor) October 17, 2018 On 17th October 2018, three anti-fracking protesters, Richard Roberts, Simon Roscoe and Rich Loizou, were released from custody, having earlier been ...
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(Amnesty International) On 16 October, a judge of the Audiencia Nacional ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the presidents, respectively, of the pro-Catalan independence organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural. They have been charged with sedition under article 544 of the Spanish Criminal ...
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(Irish Council for Civil Liberties) 17th September 2018 - The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is seriously concerned by the Minister for Justice’s suggestion on the radio this morning that he supports legislation to outlaw the photographing of Gardai acting in the course of their duties. While the criminal harassment or ...
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(theJournal.ie) A group of men arrived at the property at 34 North Frederick Street to remove the activists yesterday evening. THE ACTIONS OF gardaí and a group of men wearing balaclavas have been described as “a heavy-handed overreaction” after housing activists were removed from a vacant house last night on ...
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(UPDATE 11/9: Senate approved the referendum to change the definition of family on the Constitution, which will be held on Oct. 7) June was the pride month in Romania, with a march in Bucharest on 9 June and one in Cluj on 23 June. While the demonstration was becoming increasingly ...
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Protests against corruption turned violent on 10 August in Bucharest as the Gendarmerie evicted the peaceful demonstrators with the use of force. 440 people, out of whom 24 gendarmes, received medical attention on site. 65 people, out of which 9 gendarmes, had to be taken to the hospital. According to ...
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