Peaceful Assembly in Djibouti

In a country where power lies in the hands of a small political elite, peaceful protests are tightly controlled by the authorities. A state of emergency was introduced in the wake of terror attacks in other countries, granting the authorities the power to break up peaceful gatherings without adhering to due process. Protests in recent years, for example those against unfree elections in 2013, were violently suppressed by the authorities. The single most violent incident occurred in the early hours of 21 December 2015 when participants in a religious and cultural ceremony prepared to gather to read the Quran. They were shot at by police attempting to disperse the crowd, and although between 19 and 37 people lost their lives, the incident received scant international attention.