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:

Article originally published in Spanish on Defender A Quien Defiende, 25 March 2020 - accessible here The organisations, led by the Defend Who Defends Platform, demand that at least four situations of institutional violence are investigated. In a letter to the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and to the ...
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Article originally published on Defender A Quien Defiende, 19 March 2020 - accessible here At Defender a Quien Defiende, we alert on how the securitarian vision of political, social or health issues (such as the current case of COVID-19 crisis) favours the application of punitivism and repression as a solution, ...
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Article written by European Civic Forum and originally published by Civicus Monitor, 11 March 2020 - accessible here BACKGROUND Since 2018, Ireland has experienced an increase in far-right organising. While political elections held on 8th February 2020 demonstrated the inability of far-right parties to mobilise voters, civil society has noted ...
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A march organised by feminist groups took place on Saturday 7 March in Paris, ahead of the International Women’s Rights Day. The march was planned to start at 7:00 p.m. from Place des Fêtes (19th) and finish at Place de la République. The whole march went peacefully, as underlined by ...
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Article originally published on Brexit, Europe and the Left, 13 December 2019 - accessible here Author: Mark Malone Read Part 1 here Just like the US and Europe, the rise of far right politics in Ireland has its origins not in ballot boxes, but rather online through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube ...
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Report by Amnesty International, released on 3 March 2020, more infos here What is the problem? In recent years, compassion has been turned into a crime across Europe. People who have helped refugees and migrants have been threatened, smeared, intimidated, harassed, and dragged through the courts to face punishment simply ...
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Photo by Neil Scott (Time to Take Back Our Buses petition hand-in at Glasgow City Chambers on 29 January 2020
We interviewed Ellie Harrison, a British artist and activist based in Glasgow. Ellie sparked controversy in the UK after announcing her year-long project The Glasgow Effect, for which she refused to leave Glasgow or use any vehicles except her bike for the whole of 2016. She did so in order ...
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Article originally published on Brexit, Europe and the Left, 12 December 2019 - accessible here Author: Mark Malone Events since the Brexit vote in the UK have demarcated a significant up-tick in far right organising in the south of Ireland. These efforts have singularity failed to achieve any meaningful political ...
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Red Malla is a database where incidents involving activists, protesters exercising their right to protest are being reported and registered. It works as a network as individuals can fill in a complaint regarding a incident they have experienced or witnessed. It is powered by Defender a Quien Defiende. Read more ...
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/ Freedom of assembly, Spain
Article originally published on Open Democracy, 30 January 2020 - accessible here Author: Emma Justum On January 30, 2019, already one year ago, the Council of Europe through its Commissioner for Human Rights expressed “very serious concerns” about the type of injuries wreaked on Gilets Jaunes protesters (the Yellow Vests) ...
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