Peaceful Assembly

Between 2013 and 2015, Bulgarians took to the streets on numerous occasions to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. At times, protests lasted for up to 100 days and involved tens of thousands of participants. Anti-government protests continued during 2015, though on a smaller scale. While some protests included stone throwing and the use of excessive force by police, most were peaceful and well-policed. Article 43(1) of the constitution provides that all ‘citizens’ are free to assemble peacefully and unarmed, a wording which, ostensibly, does not extend this right to non-Bulgarians. In practice, Bulgarians must notify the authorities 48 hours in advance of a public gathering, while spontaneous peaceful assemblies do not have legal protection under the law.