Peaceful Assembly

Anyone organising a peaceful public gathering in Cameroon must first get approval from the authorities. This gives the state the power to ban marches and demonstrations that it does not like, on the grounds that the assembly is likely to ‘disturb public order’. Similar to the authorities’ approach to undesirable associations, protests dealing with the rights of LGBTI people and combatting corruption are especially likely to be denied permission, while meetings dealing with land rights, democracy and security are frequently broken up. Protests often turn violent because of disproportionate use of force by the police. Where protests are approved, they can also be restricted by the imposition of conditions on the time, place and duration of a demonstration or meeting. Strict rules on the organisers’ liability for damage also affects the potential financial sustainability of some movements that rely on regular public gatherings to build support.