AGENDA: Protecting freedom of peaceful assembly. A political participation tool also during COVID19

2nd and 3th December 2020 · Online Sessions

As the COVID-19 virus spread across Europe, in most EU countries national authorities restricted the public space and limited the possibility for gatherings of people. How to maintain people’s right to protest while also safeguarding the rights to life and health has been a great democratic challenge that has caught most unprepared on how to tackle it.

The right to peaceful assembly enables people to participate collectively in shaping their societies in a powerful yet peaceful way. The exercise of this right allows people to express discontent and contestation peacefully and can contribute to the recognition of a wide range of fundamental rights, including the socio-economic rights, as well as the respect of the rule of law. Freedom of assembly and the right to protest gain special importance at times when far-reaching decisions are taken impacting people’s livelihood, as during the current health emergency. Additionally, freedom of assembly is especially important to give visibility to matters of general interest in contexts where dialogue between authorities and civil society is not structured or challenged.

Yet, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the right to protest has been greatly restricted, as peaceful protesters have been impeded from organising or identified, dispersed, fined or arrested on the grounds of not having respected COVID-related measures. This happens in a context in which a deterioration of the safeguards of the right to peaceful assembly and more widely of the rule of law has been documented in several EU states for years.

Novact in cooperation with Iridia and European Civic Forum, invite you to a two-day event on the right to peaceful protest during COVID-19.

  • The first part, taking place on Wednesday 2 December from 16:00 to 18:30 and under the title Towards a European strategy to protect the right to protest from the grassroots up, will provide a space for civil society ​and protest movements from across Europe to share their challenges and success stories, in order to learn from one another strategies to defend and protect the right to protest. Please, note that thi part of the event will be open only to a limited number of participants to focus the discussion.

  • The second part, on Thursday 3 December from 18:00 to 19:30 and under the title European venues to protect the right to peaceful assembly in the context of the rule of law framework, will be an opportunity to discuss and share with high-level representatives of EU the right of the peaceful assembly during the COVID-19 pandemic within the EU rule of law framework.

You can register your participation here: https://framaforms.org/protecting-assembly-1604595727