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:

(Breitbart - 10 September 2019) WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Armed, masked Polish border guards boarded a Greenpeace tall ship as it was trying to block coal from being delivered to the port of Gdansk, arresting activists and seizing the vessel, the group said Tuesday. Greenpeace said its activists had been ...
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(Council of Europe - 9 December 2019) Over the last year, protests have multiplied across the planet, from Chile to Hong-Kong. Europe is not left out of this wave of demonstrations. Protests are taking different forms, from large and repeated demonstrations to the occupation of public places and spontaneous assemblies ...
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By Marta Lempart, Polish Women's Strike On Wednesday, 18 December, over 200 cities in Poland stood in civic protest for judiciary independence. The direct reason for protests, that were held outside courthouses across Poland and, in Warsaw, outside Polish parliament, is the bill dubbed “gag bill” that will implement harsh ...
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This report documents the most important aspects in the breakdown of the system for the protection of human rights. The report is not exhaustive and does not constitute any kind of chronicle on the rule of the Law and Justice party. The report focuses primarily on institutions and issues of ...
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(PAME, Trade Union Front - 11 December 2019) PAME denounces the ND government’s brutal attack on the protest of doctors, who were protesting the privatization of healthcare. On Wednesday, December 11th, during a protest by the Federation of Public Hospital Doctors’ against an event to promote the privatization of Healthcare, ...
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(The Brussels Times - 29 November 2019) On Thursday night, 22 members of of the group Extinction Rebellion have been arrested preventively while they were preparing to protest against Black Friday. “Around 11:00 PM, 22 arrests were made in the centre of the city as a result of an inspection,” ...
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(The Brussels Times) By Gabriela Galindo Protesters gathered in the square were dispersed by police using teargas and water cannons. Credit: © Belga An investigation will seek to determine whether police used excessive force against protesters taking part in an Extinction Rebellion protest in downtown Brussels at the weekend [of 12 ...
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Guide Right to Protest: Protection, Guarantee and Advocacy Mechanisms in the European Union and Council of Europe is part of the RIGHT2PROTEST – Defence, advocacy and training for civil and political rights in Europe project, funded by the Barcelona Provincial Council. RIGHT2PROTEST develops in a two-year timeline (2019-2021), and seeks ...
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(Network for Police Monitoring - Netpol) After almost a decade of campaigning for an end to the highly subjective categorisation of campaigners at “domestic extremists”, Netpol has finally received confirmation that the Home Office has decided to stop using the label. In June, we highlighted a report by David Anderson QC, a former independent ...
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(The Guardian) Two climate crisis protesters who removed Emmanuel Macron’s portrait from an official building were justified in doing so because of the severity of the environmental emergency, a judge has said. The ​judge in Lyon acquitted the pair of theft in a ruling hailed as historic by campaigners. In ...
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