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Compilation of Venice Commission opinions concerning freedom of assembly

Adopted on: July 2014 (revised version)
Reference number: CDL-PI(2014)0003 Adopted by: European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)
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This document is a compilation of extracts taken from opinions and reports/studies adopted by the Venice Commission on issues concerning the freedom of assembly. The aim of this compilation is to give an overview of the doctrine of the Venice Commission in this field. Each opinion presented refers to a concrete country. One of the opinions presented in this compilation recalls that the right of assembly covers all types of gathering including assemblies and meetings, demonstrations, marches and processions whether public or private provided they are ‘peaceful’. Another one stresses that this right also covers the right to organise spontaneous events that respond peacefully and immediately to some occurrence, incident, other assembly, or speech – such events are essential elements of freedom of assembly and should be regarded by the authorities as an expectable feature of a healthy democracy and as such should be protected and facilitated by the authorities so long as they are peaceful in nature. According to the Venice Commission, such assemblies do not need an organiser. According to one of the opinions of the Venice Commission, the right to assembly includes the right to counter demonstrate: this right should only be limited in connection with genuine security or public-order consideration. The document provides useful information and legal explanation related to such issues as: simultaneous assemblies, national legislation related to freedom of assembly, or a state’s duty to protect peaceful assemblies. It underlines that freedom of assembly should be enjoyed by everyone without discrimination on any grounds. One of the chapters provides opinions related to restrictions that can be imposed by the authorities when exercising freedom of assembly, explaining the legitimate grounds for restrictions taking into account content, place, time and manner of holding assemblies.

Youth specific: No

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