Assembly in Practice

This page provides valuable resources on the practical aspects of freedom of assembly. It includes the latest reports and analysis, seminal articles and country snapshots prepared by ICNL/ECNL and other international human rights organizations and experts.

Papers and Reports
Legal Snapshots and Country Notes



Recent years have seen an increased number and intensity of protests in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership region. At the same time, countries have experienced a significant increase in restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly. In 2017 ECNL worked with local experts in nine countries on mapping the existing environment for assembly. Reports for Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia can be found here.


Papers and Reports


  • Association and Assembly in the Digital Age: This article, published in the International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law, explores the connection between new technology and fundamental freedoms, specificallsy the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
  • When Dictators Cry Conspiracy: Slandering democratic protesters as foreign stooges is a favorite tactic of authoritarian regimes.  In this Foreign Policy article, Srdja Popovic offers ideas how to beat it.
  • 5 reasons why Prides matter: Amnesty International collected the 5 most important arguments, which explain why communities need to keep on organizing prides. Pride events are about human rights; they empower LGBTI individuals to reclaim the rights and freedoms they are denied, to accept and be proud of their identity. Demonstrators fight shame and social stigma, and march in the face of threats and violence.
  • Meet Srdja Popovic, the secret architect of global revolution: In this article from The Guardian, the Serbian activist who formed the Otpor! movement in 1998 to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic has taken his philosophy of protest – laced with humor and rock’n’roll – worldwide. He explains how to mobilize people and change the world.
  • Challenges of Policing the Protests in Montenegro: In this article, Institute Alternative looks at two specific challenges that emerged during the facilitation of protests in Montenegro in late 2015 by law enforcement officials.
  • How "free" is assembly in Montenegro?: This article by Institute Alternative focuses on the state of  the freedom of assembly in Montenegro and shows that the state must make greater effort to improve legal solutions and practice in order to adequately ensure that its citizens can enjoy this right.
  • Turkey: CSO Workshop on Advocating for Freedom of Assembly (2015): This CSO Workshop was organized in the context of the objectives of TACSO to enhance CSOs’ active participation to policy making and legislation as well as improvement of legislative framework that has implications on the realization of the mission of CSOs.
  • Police Used Excessive Force at Yerevan Protest (2016): This Armenian Weekly article discusses excessive use of police force during the protests in July 2016.
  • Freedom of assembly on trial in South Korea (2016): An opinion article from The Korea Herald related to organizers’ liability in case the assemblies turn out violent.

Legal Snapshots and Country Notes

  • Freedom of Assembly- Marikana Commission of Inquiry: This Note discusses key recommendations to improve accountability mechanisms in South African law enforcement, as proposed by expert policing witnesses and various parties before the Marikana Commission. The official report by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry is available here.
  •  Freedom of Assembly in Burundi: This country note on Burundi provides an overview of the regulation on freedom of assembly including legal definition, notification procedure about the intention to organize an assembly as well as regulatory approach towards spontaneous gatherings and counter-demonstrations.
  • Freedom of Assembly in Czech Republic: This country note reviews freedom of assembly in terms of a legal definition, notification procedure, regulation of spontaneous assemblies and restrictions on the assemblies.
  • Freedom of Assembly in Georgia: This country note reviews the Law on Assembly and Manifestations from the perspective of compliance with the international standards, in particular with regard to the prior notification of the assembly and restrictions. 
  • Freedom of Assembly in Germany: This country note reviews federal regulation of assemblies including legal definition, notification procedure, eligibility requirements for the organizers and leaders of the assembly as well as their rights and obligations. The note includes a comprehensive list of laws regulating assemblies on the state level.
  • Freedom of Assembly in Italy: This country note reviews the constitution provisions and two other main laws regulating assemblies in Italy. The note includes information on the definition, notification procedure, eligibility of the organizers as well as of participants and describes existing restrictions on the assemblies.
  • Freedom of Assembly in Turkey: The constitutional guarantee of the freedom of assembly is supplemented by a wide range of secondary legislation in Turkey. This country note provides concise overview of the applicable regulation with regard to the notification and authorization of the assemblies, eligibility requirements for the organizers, restrictions on the assemblies, state interference and liabilities of the organizers as well as the participants.