Although civic space in Gabon appears constitutionally unimpeded, civil society operates under serious restrictions, which impede their ability to speak out on any issue of concern to them. Involvement in ‘political’ subjects is particularly problematic for CSOs. Authorities also sometimes hamper civil society activities through the use of bureaucratic obstacles or judicial penalties. Demonstrations are severely repressed by the security forces and freedom of expression is undermined through criminal defamation legislation and intimidation and harassment of journalists.