• Sheet of paper Report

Under-Protected and Over-Restricted: The State of the Right to Protest in 21 European Countries

Montage of images from different mobilizations and protests across Europe showing the power of protest © Amnesty International
Amnesty International

Peaceful protest is a powerful and public way for people to make their voices heard. It has long been a vital means for advancing human rights around the world.

However, in Europe, the right of peaceful assembly is increasingly coming under attack, with state authorities stigmatizing, impeding, deterring, punishing and cracking down on those organizing and participating in peaceful protests.

This Amnesty International report presents an overview of the current state of the right of peaceful assembly across 21 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.

It documents an array of trends and patterns of human rights violations that curtail this right, including repressive laws, stigmatizing rhetoric, use of unnecessary and excessive force, arbitrary arrests and prosecutions, discriminatory restrictions, intrusive surveillance and many more.

The human rights violations instill fear among people, and the chilling effect is especially severe for people who already experience heightened barriers to protest and those who are already subject to inequality, marginalization, racism or violence because of, among others, their race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The report contains detailed recommendations for states to end human rights violations and bring their laws, policies and practices to compliance with international human rights law so that everyone’s right to protest is protected, respected and fulfilled.

Read “Under-Protected and Over-Restricted: The State of the Right to Protest in 21 European Countries.”