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Respect for freedom of expression and assembly is one of the key indicators of a government’s respect for human rights, and one of the pillars of modern participatory democracy. When people exercising their freedom of expression challenge or criticise government, or demonstrations are organised to oppose government policy or leaders, or even powerful non- state actors, state respect for the exercise of these fundamental freedoms may rapidly decline. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of popular protests in which people have taken to the streets to express grievances and claim their rights. These protests have swept across the globe, leaving no continent untouched. In many cases, police and security forces have responded in a manner that profoundly undermines fundamental human rights, including freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, among others – often leading to escalations in violence through unwarranted, inappropriate, or disproportionate uses of force. This trend is not exclusive to authoritarian governments; democratic governments have responded in a similar or problematic manner to acts of protest. The report is available here.

Source: International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

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