prevention of protest

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Country representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy Madi Jobarteh was summoned for questioning on 30th June to the Kairaba police station in Serrekunda, in relation to statements he made in an interview during a Black Lives Matter protest he organised on 27th June 2020 in front of the US embassy. That same day, Jobarteh was charged with 'false information and broadcasting' under the Criminal Code, which is punishable with a prison sentence of six months to five years or a fine of 500 to 50,000 dalasis (9.6 to 960 USD), before being released on bail. Read more

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Judicial harassment of FNDC activists; 6 people killed in protest against COVID-19 police roadblocks

On 17th July 2020 - three days before a planned FNDC protest (see under Peaceful Assembly) - armed and hooded police officers arrived at the residence of Ibrahima Diallo, coordinator of Tournons la Page Guinea and in charge of operations for FNDC. As Diallo was not at home, officers left a summons with his wife, calling for Diallo to present himself to the Central Direction of the Judicial Police for 'disturbance to the State'. Read more  |  Read in French

Judicial harassment of FNDC activists; 6 people killed in protest against COVID-19 police roadblocks

Disinformation and fake news on the rise during COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak the the State Electoral Commission decided not to allow people who are infected with the coronavirus to vote from home, but it has allowed this for people in self-isolation. However, shortly before the election took place the Constitutional Court ruled that the Electoral Commission must ensure that COVID-19 patients have the right to vote. Following this, the commission announced that coronavirus patients would be allowed to vote by proxy. Allegations against Croatian police of torturing migrants have continued to emerge, but the Interior Ministry dismissed these allegations, while NGOs state that there is evidence and testimonies from eyewitnesses. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an increase in the spread of disinformation and fake news regarding the virus has been noted in Croatia. Due to this, the Croatian police have filed dozens of reports against citizens who were spreading fake news. Read more

Disinformation and fake news on the rise during COVID-19

Government bans open-air religious gatherings, interrupting protests by Serbian Orthodox church

Amid the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Montenegro, the names of citizens who were ordered to self-isolate had been disclosed by the government. In reaction to this, NGO Civil Alliance brought an appeal against this decision, stating that this violated these citizens constitutional right to privacy. In mid-June 2020, after a three-month break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a protest liturgy of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) was held in Podgorica. The gathering, which was attended by thousands of citizens, was peaceful. However, 10 days later, the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases announced that open-air religious gatherings would be prohibited. On a positive note, Parliament has voted to legalise same-sex civil partnerships in Montenegro Read more

Government bans open-air religious gatherings, interrupting protests by Serbian Orthodox church

Further attempts to curtail freedom of expression during COVID-19

As part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency measures, the Turkish government enacted strong general restrictions on assembly that especially relate to the work of CSOs. With a total ban on public gatherings, citizens have turned to online spaces for creative means of protest. During COVID-19 pandemic there was an increase in journalists being jailed on charges of “causing people to panic and publishing reports on coronavirus outside the knowledge of authorities”. Moreover, the Turkish government discriminated against journalists when it announced the release of approximately 90,000 prisoners in order to relieve overcrowded prisons during the pandemic, but excluded journalists, human rights defenders and all political prisoners. Read more

Further attempts to curtail freedom of expression during COVID-19

Peaceful Assembly affected by COVID-19 restrictions

Mass protests banned in Moscow due to COVID-19; Marches held to commemorate fifth anniversary of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov; Experts document decreased willingness to join protests; Jamestown Foundation and European Endowment for Democracy banned in Russia; Chechen Opposition blogger attacked by an unknown person Read more

Peaceful Assembly affected by COVID-19 restrictions

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

The first three months of 2020 saw ongoing and systematic persecution of civil society activists, journalists, bloggers and other citizens exercising their right to freely express themselves. The situation is currently deteriorating, particularly in connection with the state of emergency, which was declared in the country on 16th March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Citizens who spoke up about the status of the pandemic in Kazakhstan and the authorities’ handling of it have on numerous occasions been criminally prosecuted. Political activists associated with two unregistered political parties – the new Democratic Party and the new movement “Street Party” - have faced persecution, administrative prosecution and significant harassment, both from the authorities and from unidentified persons. Read more

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

Far-right protest against lockdown restrictions; activists protest in creative ways during COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic there is a ban in place for gatherings of over 20 people. Despite this, a number of demonstrations have been held. Far-right groups gathered to protest governments confinement measures. Meanwhile, far- left groups gathered for May Day protests and called for solidarity towards refugees. In a worrying development, there have been two seperate incidents where media crews were attacked during protests. Read more

Far-right protest against lockdown restrictions; activists protest in creative ways during COVID-19

Police violence against protesters and journalists under spotlight

Police violence towards protesters and journalists has come under the spotlight during the G7 summit. In addition, the police disciplinary body is investigating cases of excessive force used against protesters who marched against the governments pension reforms. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, France has enacted a “State of Health Emergency” law. However, human rights organisations have raised concerns due to the Constitutional Council suspending its activities during this period. There have also been several reports of police abusing emergency laws. Read more  |  Read in French

Police violence against protesters and journalists under spotlight

Opposition members face increasing restrictions ahead of 2021 elections

Demonstration by RADDE (Rally for Action, Democracy and Ecological Development) slated for 16th April 2020 in front of the National Assembly banned by the Interior Minister; Protests in Arhiba, on the outskirts of the capital city, met with brutal force; ARD party reports kidnapping and arbitrary detention of one of their members Dilleyta Tourab; Report by the UN Secretary-General notes that journalist and human rights defender Kadar Abdi Ibrahim continued to suffer reprisals; Reporters Without Borders (RSF) unblocks the website of La Voix de Djibouti, Djibouti’s only independent media outlet; High-profile blogger, Samatar Ahmed Osman's wife arrested, detained and interrogated before release; Read more  |  Read in French

Opposition members face increasing restrictions ahead of 2021 elections