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:

(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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(Hungarian Civil Liberties Union) The Hungarian Government introduced a draft Bill (T/707.) on the right to assembly, to replace the current law which has been in effect since 1989. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union is of the view that the entire Bill should have been withdrawn and the current Act ...
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A group of women activists was identified as "socially dangerous" by the police central station of Rome for singing Bella Ciao in sign of protest against the stand of the neo-fascist party Casapound in their neighbourhood San Paolo Garbatella on 20 May 2018. According to the group Antifasciste e antifascisti ...
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(European Civic Forum on CIVICUS Monitor) A demonstration opposing US President Donald Trump was held in Trafalgar Square, London, on 13th July 2018 to protest his visit to the UK and demand that the government not normalise the US leader’s agenda and narrative. Over 100,000 people took part in the ...
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#restiamoumaniLa polizia sta impedendo di portare a cqua e cibo ai manifestanti che dalle 7e30 sono al ministero dei trasporti in protesta pacifica e non violenta.E' necessario andare lì a portare solidarietà! Attivarsi è l'unica forma di resistenza che abbiamo, ora. pic.twitter.com/U1rWpdshYs— Baobab Experience (@BaobabExp) July 11, 2018 On 11 ...
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(translated from RTL info) The police of Brussels Capital Ixelles administratively stopped Wednesday morning four people who deployed a banner against the American president in the Madou tunnel. The banner carried an unequivocal message to Donald Trump: "Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity". The US president is in Brussels since ...
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(European Civic Forum to CIVICUS Monitor) Surveillance on anti-fracking campaigners Breaking news: last month we took the Information Commissioner to a tribunal for backing five police forces' refusal to give us the number of referrals of anti-fracking campaigners to #Prevent's "deradicalisation" process, Channel. Today, we heard that we won.— Netpol ...
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(Translated from Spanish from No somos delito) Next Thursday, July 5, from 4:45pm onwards, a Parliamentary Conference will be held in the Congress of Deputies to debate the reforms of the Citizen Security Law, better known as the Gag Rule. In this event organized by social groups, to which all the parliamentary ...
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(Deutsche Welle) Police in the southwestern French city of Nantes clashed again with protesters overnight. The demonstrations followed a deadly shooting by police of a man during a stop-and-search. Police arrested at least 12 people during a second night of protests in the French city of Nantes. Demonstrators clashed with riot police on ...
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