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 19 July: Following these findings, the Paris Observatory of Public Freedoms recalls: that the right of assembly and freedom of expression are recognized and protected in accordance with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights; that the right to demonstrate does not depend on any authorization from administration: ...
Read More
(Common Dreams) Hundreds of climate activists stormed a massive open-pit coal mine in Germany on Saturday, entering a standoff with police inside the mine while thousands of others maintained separate blockades of the nation's coal infrastructure as part of a week-long series of actions designed to end Europe's dependency on fossil fuels ...
Read More
(The Network for Police Monitoring) Last week, the Guardian’s report on compensation paid by the Metropolitan Police for the mass arrests of anti-fascist campaigners in 2013 included confirmation from court documents of the deployment of covert officers at the demonstration in Tower Hamlets. Two officers infiltrated a group of demonstrators who had been kettled by ...
Read More
UPDATE: According to the organisers, the protest had previously been notified and authorised by the police. (Translated from Dutch with DeepL - 6 July BRUZZ) In the Avenue du Port, in front of Thurn & Taxis, 22 demonstrators dressed as zombies were arrested by the police on Saturday. They were on ...
Read More
By Osservatorio Repressione  (Translated with DeepL) The repression of all social struggles has been taking place for decades in Italy through the emergence of strict (and usually swift) justice from broad sectors of politics and society. The price paid by social movements and activists resisting and dissenting in public squares - often ...
Read More
(European Center for Not-for-Profit Law) The right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Bulgaria is regulated at a constitutional and legislative level in the Bulgarian legal framework – in the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and in the Assemblies, Rallies and Marches Act (ARMA). Most Bulgarian municipalities have further developed ...
Read More
(European Civic Forum for Civicus Monitor) Eestis juba ei sobi avalikult öelda, et rassistid on valitsuses. Välismeediat tsiteerides veel tohib. https://t.co/bWlhXchkmj — Vilja Kiisler (@ViljaKiisler) May 12, 2019 On 3rd March 2019, the Estonian parliamentary elections took place with election turnout just over 63 per cent. The centre-right Reform Party won ...
Read More
(The Irish Council for Civil Liberties) The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), having engaged last week in a national consultation with protest groups, is today reporting serious and urgent concerns in how the Irish state deals with protest and dissent. We have been informed that activists living in Direct Provision deal with ...
Read More
UPDATE - 8 July: According to statement of Kama Peksa from Pride organiser Rainbow Mission Foundation to Hungary Today "this year’s event was the most peaceful and unhindered one in recent years. She noted that the participants marched without cordons this year, and in spite of that there were no ...
Read More
Since 2015, Spain has in place restrictive legislation dubbed “Gag Laws”. In 2018, the Socialist Government led by Pedro Sánchez opened a window of opportunity for reform, which was suddenly stalled when the new General Elections were called in April 2019 and no change since then. Social movements saw this ...
Read More
Close Menu