FRANCE: The French Ligue des Droits de l’Homme takes legal action against the government’s decree banning public gatherings and freedom of assembly

UPDATE 16- June 2020: On 12 June 2020, the Council of State declared that the ban on demonstrations is not justified by the current health situation when the “barrier measures” can be respected or when the event is unlikely to bring together more than 5,000 people. The judge also points out that, in accordance with the law, any demonstration on the public highway must be declared in advance to the town hall or prefecture, and that it may be banned by the police authorities or the prefect if they consider that it is likely to disturb public order, including for health reasons, or when local circumstances so require. Read more here:


8 June 2020: On 11 May 2020, the government enacted the ban on peaceful assembly, as a result of the sanitary emergency measures. In a public statement issued on May 25, the LDH points out at the paradox in the measures taken by the government. On one hand, shopping malls, bars and restaurants, as well as an amusement park, have been authorised to open again, bringing together hundreds of people in small places. On the other hand, any form of protest (in cars, human chains with social distancing…) have been reprimanded by law enforcement.
The statement also reminds the extended prerogatives given to the executive, which does not need approval from the Parliament to pass laws. The LDH argues that such a deprivation of a fundamental right weakens democracy and threatens civil peace.
At the end of the appeal, the Human rights organisation solemnly calls on all political, trade union and associative actors to stand up against this denial of rights. All actors are also urged to intervene in order to force the executive to open discussions without delay on appropriate solutions that would reconcile health prevention and freedom of demonstration.