Shrinking Space for Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

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Protests are taking different forms, from large and repeated demonstrations to the occupation of public places and spontaneous assemblies. The reasons for increasing mobilization of protesters across Europe are manifold. They include economic inequalities, decreasing trust in the traditional political elites and institutions, violations of human rights and democratic rules, etc. Protecting the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is crucial for the good health of democratic societies. CoE member states have long acknowledged this fact and this right is therefore enshrined in many national constitutions. Faced with the multiplication of protests, the authorities in several countries have taken legal and other measures that jeopardize or tend to erode this right. The measures range from harsh policing of demonstrations, and bans on and dispersals of assemblies, to changes in legislation aimed at increasing the possibilities of sanctioning persons organizing or participating in peaceful assemblies. Read more here.

Source: Council of Europe

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