Freedom of Assembly

Freedom of assembly is the citizens’ right to gather publicly together to express, advocate and achieve shared needs.

The right to peaceful assembly encompasses the right to express dissent through meetings, demonstrations, protests and strikes. This right is an essential complement to freedom of association and expression. The right to peaceful assembly enables people to participate collectively in shaping their societies in a powerful yet peaceful way. 

Freedom of assembly and the right to protest gain special importance at times when far-reaching decisions impact people’s livelihoods. It is also important for giving visibility to general matters when dialogue between authorities and civil society is challenged.

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, criminalisation of peaceful protesters.