Right to protest: State of play, solidarity and resistance

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Protests have been and remain a crucial tool of individual and collective expression, a vehicle for advancing human rights and a cornerstone of civic participation. In their many shapes and forms they have been a powerful way of making one’s voice heard in the face of injustice and oppression. But is the right to protest in Europe in danger?

In recent years we have been facing ever deepening interconnected crises – increasing inequality, persisting discrimination, rise of armed conflicts, climate breakdown, forced migration and the cost of living crisis. People are taking to the streets to call out the false solutions, hypocrisy and lack of action by the European authorities and elites, and to demand accountability from those in power.

A coalition of organisations including Greenpeace, FOE and Liberty protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in London. This event is organised by Kill the Bill. These new laws would have serious consequences for the right to protest, putting significant restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly by giving police the powers to curb protests, among other measures.

However, state authorities feel threatened by the power of protests. They too often respond by shaming, stigmatizing and cracking down on peaceful protesters instead of acting on the issues at hand. State authorities are suppressing protests´ organizers and participants by implementing an expanding array of anti-protest laws and measures  to crackdown on organized or spontaneous dissent. Authorities engage in aggressive policing, employ excessive and unnecessary force against peaceful protesters. They increasingly use surveillance technology to monitor individuals and groups, instilling heightened fear among people.

Picture from Lützerath at the Garzweiler open pit mine. Activists protest on site against the removal of coal from under the village.
Police forces clear the village of Lützerath in North Rhine-Westphalia.

What is the situation in Europe around the right to protest? What harmful trends of repression and crackdown on dissent are we witnessing? How can we, as activists, community organisers and experts, come together to fight restrictive legislations and other forms of repression? 

In an attempt to raise awareness and continue demanding the protection of our rights, we invite you to a webinar organised by Amnesty International, Climate Defense and The Movement Hub.

In the webinar you will:

Hear about a soon to be published research done by Amnesty International in 21 European countries, mapping and analysing the current state of play of the right to protest with specific recommendations for changes in legislation, policy and practices by state authorities 

Learn about the trends in repression towards climate activists and ways how Climate Defense is fighting back

Get inspiration from a grassroots legal team on how to organise the work and support people taking action

Understand the need for international solidarity, legal resilience and community organizing to prevent further restrictions

The webinar will take place on 28th of May at 7pm CET.

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