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Europe: Right to Protest Must Be Protected During Latest Escalations in Israel/OPT

Responding to the mounting restrictions being placed by several authorities in Europe on protests defending Palestinian human rights, Esther Major, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe, said:

“The devastating consequences of Israel’s bombing and illegal blockade on Gaza are understandably compelling many people in Europe to protest for the rights of Palestinians. Yet, in many European countries, the authorities are unlawfully restricting the right to protest. Measures range from those targeting certain chants, Palestinian flags and signs, to subjecting protesters to police brutality and arrest. In some cases, protests have been banned altogether.

“For example, authorities in Germany banned the vast majority of protests for Palestinian rights, and on Tuesday France’s government was told by the highest administrative court that it could not impose a blanket ban on all demonstrations in support of Palestinians.”

“In the UK there were concerns that letters sent by government ministers were attempting to influence police chiefs, or would be used by schools and college leaders as pretexts to unduly restrict freedom of expression or association. Amnesty International has called on all politicians to be responsible in their use of language and avoid using divisive rhetoric.”

“In Switzerland, this coming weekend all demonstrations related to the conflict have been banned in Zurich, and in the canton of Basel-Stadt, and in Bern, bans have been brought in on all demonstrations.”

“States have a legal obligation to ensure that people are able to peacefully express their grief, concerns and their solidarity. With a number of protests planned for this weekend we call on authorities across Europe to protect and facilitate everyone’s right to express themselves and peacefully assemble.”

Source: Amnesty