Protest as you like it: time, place & manner restrictions under scrutiny in Lashmankin v. Russia

Guest post by Daniel Simons, Legal Officer for Freedom of Assembly, Expression and Information, Open Society Justice Initiative (New York)

The unanimous Chamber judgment in Lashmankin and Others v. Russia, rendered on February 7th, is an important new star in the Article 11 firmament. It clarifies the law peaceful assemblies in a number of respects, in particular the degree to which authorities may impose time, place and manner restrictions on individual protests, or place blanket bans on demonstrations in specific locations.

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One man banned: Russia’s treatment of solo protests scrutinised in Novikova v Russia

by Daniel Simons and Dirk Voorhoof

One-person protests are the only kind of demonstration Russian citizens are permitted to hold without giving prior notice to the authorities. The unanimous judgment in Novikova and others v. Russia stops short of questioning this low threshold, but finds Russia in violation of Article 10 over its excessive zeal in enforcing the notification requirement through arrests and fines.

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“Do you hear the people sing?”: Kudrevičius v. Lithuania and the problematic expansion of principles that mute assemblies

By Ella Rutter and Jasmine Rayée, students of the Human Rights Law Clinic at the Faculty of Law of Ghent University.

On 15 October 2015, in the case of Kudrevičius and Others v. Lithuania, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered its first Grand Chamber judgment on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. The case concerned the administration of criminal sanctions, by the State of Lithuania to the applicants, for participation in peaceful protests involving roadblocks. The ECtHR held unanimously that there was no violation of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In this critical examination of the judgement, we argue that the general application of the principles defined in Kudrevičius would diminish the protective standard under Article 11 ECHR.

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Protestor’s arrest and conviction for disobeying a police order violated Article 11

By Ronan Ó Fathaigh

The European Court’s First Section has unanimously held that a protestor’s arrest and conviction for failing to obey a police order violated his Article 11 right to freedom of assembly, despite the demonstration being unlawful. The First Section’s opinion in Mammadov v. Azerbaijan tackled the difficult issue of how police officers are supposed to respond to unlawful demonstrations, and whether protestors who participate in such demonstrations, but remain peaceful, may still be arrested.

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