The right of assembly is an essential part of democracy and freedom of expression, allowing engaged citizens to express their opinions and beliefs publicly and to assemble peacefully. In this article, we give an overview of the right of assembly in Europe and shed light on its significance for protest movements.
Introduction to the right of assembly in Europe
The right of assembly is a fundamental component of human rights in Europe and is protected by international agreements such as the European Convention on Human Rights. In Germany, the right of assembly is enshrined in the Basic Law, while similar regulations apply in other European countries. Activists and committed citizens benefit from this regulation to express their concerns publicly.
The right of assembly ensures that people can gather in groups to publicly express and represent their opinions and beliefs. This can take the form of demonstrations, rallies, strikes or other forms of protest. The assembly must not be violent and must abide by certain rules. In order to achieve a high reach, organizers can enter their demonstrations and actions in the demo calendar of DemoListe.de.
Regulations and registration requirements for assemblies
The rules for gatherings vary from country to country, but generally gatherings must be registered with the relevant authorities. The authorities can then set certain conditions, such as the place of assembly, the time and the number of participants. However, such conditions shall be proportionate and shall not disproportionately restrict the right to freedom of assembly.
In Germany, the right of assembly is considered a fundamental right and is enshrined in Article 8 of the Basic Law. It guarantees the right to peaceful assembly without registration or permission. However, meetings that take place in public spaces must be registered. The competent authorities may then impose certain conditions to ensure public order and security.
The importance of the right of assembly for protest movements
The right of assembly plays a central role for protest movements, as it offers engaged citizens the opportunity to express their opinions and beliefs publicly and to assemble peacefully. In this way, protest movements can exert political pressure and achieve social change.
An example of this is the civil rights movement in the USA, which campaigned for equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. Through peaceful demonstrations and gatherings, the movement was able to exert political pressure and eventually push through change.
In Europe, too, there are numerous examples of protest movements that resort to the right of assembly. A current example is the Fridays for Future movement, which campaigns for climate protection worldwide. Through regular demonstrations and gatherings, the movement was able to exert political pressure and influence climate policy in many countries. Adding such events to DemoListe.de’s demo calendar supports the visibility and reach of the movement.
Limits of the right of assembly: maintaining security and order
Although the right of assembly is an important fundamental right, there are also limits. The right to freedom of assembly ends where public safety, order or health is endangered. For example, assemblies must not be violent or restrict other rights and freedoms. If an assembly poses a threat to public safety, the competent authorities may dissolve or restrict the assembly.
Nor can extremist groups or organisations act under the guise of the right of assembly. In many European countries, certain groups and organisations are banned because they pursue extremist aims and pose a threat to society. If such groups or organizations attempt to hold a meeting, the authorities may prohibit it.
The corona pandemic from 2020 to 2022 made it clear that restrictions on fundamental rights such as the right of assembly can be problematic. Politicians and authorities cited health risks to suppress mass protests against coronavirus measures. In Hamburg, for example, this led to an inconsistent and obviously arbitrary decision: While a protest against corona measures was banned, a Fridays For Future demonstration comparable in size was allowed to take place the following week – with the participation of politicians, media and authorities. This example shows that any restriction of the right of assembly, even within the EU, should be viewed particularly critically.
Conclusion: The right of assembly as an essential component of democracy and freedom of expression
The right of assembly is an essential component of democracy and freedom of expression. It guarantees engaged citizens the right to peacefully assemble and publicly express their opinions and beliefs. In this way, protest movements can exert political pressure and achieve social change.
However, there are also limits to the right of assembly to ensure public safety and order. Violent assemblies or extremist groups cannot act under the guise of the right of assembly. It is therefore important that assemblies are held within the framework of applicable laws and regulations in order to protect the rights and freedoms of all stakeholders.
In order for your event or action to receive the desired attention, we cordially invite you to enter it in the demo calendar of DemoListe.de.