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Popular protest and challenges to freedom of assembly, media and speech

Doc. 13258: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13258 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1Popular protest has erupted in many European (and non-European) countries recently. Demonstrations often occur in an unregulated manner, its participants co-ordinating with one another through social media. The right of individuals to demonstrate against their democratically elected governments is as legitimate as is the right of such governments not to change their policies in the face of protests.
2Such demonstrations have taken place in many cities and countries in Europe in the last year. In all cases, the protests started peacefully, even if in some cases small minorities did engage in violent activity. The response by the public authorities and the action taken by law-enforcement bodies were at times disproportionate.
3Recently, on 31 May 2013, a peaceful demonstration organised by opponents to an urban renovation project in Istanbul led to a heavy-handed police intervention and triggered an unprecedented popular protest movement in Turkey. In dozens of Turkish towns, hundreds of thousands of people expressed their disagreement with the attitude of public authorities and took part in demonstrations. In many places, these demonstrations resulted in violent clashes with the security forces, involving the systematic use of tear gas (pepper spray), water cannons and, in some cases, the firing of rubber bullets. The Assembly deplores the death of four people, including a police officer, and the injuries to almost 8 000 people.

26 June 2013

Tabled by Mr Pedro AGRAMUNT, Mr Mike HANCOCK, Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Mr Robert WALTER, Ms Meritxell MATEU

If adopted, amendments 3, 4, 6, 7 falls.

Votes: 104 in favor 29 against 2 abstentions

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 3 with the following paragraph:

"Examples of peaceful demonstrations which developed into violent clashes with the police in the last few months in Europe include: 3.1 several demonstrations against same sex marriage staged in Paris between 24 March and 27 May 2013 ("Manif pour tous"), involving more than 2 million people, triggering the intervention of law enforcement forces including the use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. 4 persons were injured and several hundred were arrested; 3.2 riots which took place in the suburbs of Stockholm from 20 to 24 May 2013 where people demonstrated against the killing of an immigrant by the police and against immigration and integration policies in general. No injuries were reported and the police arrested 29 persons; 3.3 a peaceful demonstration on 31 May 2013 organised by environmentalists to an urban renovation project in Istanbul was in part taken over by unrelated extremist groups, whose intervention increasingly intensified the situation which then led to a heavy police intervention and triggered an unprecedented popular protest movement in Turkey. In many places these demonstrations resulted in violent clashes with the security forces, involving the systematic use of tear gas (pepper spray), water cannons and, in some cases, the firing or rubber bullets. The Assembly deplores the death of four people, including a police officer, and the injuries of roughly 4 000 people."

26 June 2013

Tabled by Ms Nursuna MEMECAN, Mr Pedro AGRAMUNT, Mr Mike HANCOCK, Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Ms Meritxell MATEU

Falls if amendment 5 is adopted.

Votes: 31 in favor 93 against 8 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, replace the first sentence with the following sentence: "Recently, on 31 May 2013, a peaceful demonstration organised by environmentalists against an urban renovation project in Istanbul was in part taken over by unrelated extremist groups whose intervention increasingly intensified the situation, which then led to a heavy police intervention and triggered an unexpected popular protest movement in Turkey."

26 June 2013

Tabled by Ms Pelin GÜNDEŞ BAKIR, Mr Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ, Mr Burhan KAYATÜRK, Mr Şaban DİŞLİ, Ms Nursuna MEMECAN

Falls if amendment 5 is adopted.

Votes: 54 in favor 71 against 11 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, delete the second and third sentences.

26 June 2013

Tabled by Ms Nursuna MEMECAN, Mr Pedro AGRAMUNT, Mr Mike HANCOCK, Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Ms Meritxell MATEU

Falls if amendment 5 is adopted.

Votes: 76 in favor 54 against 7 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, replace "8,000" with "4,000".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, replace "8 000" with: "4 000".

26 June 2013

Tabled by Mr Tiny KOX, Mr Ertuğrul KÜRKÇÜ, Mr Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS, Mr George LOUCAIDES, Ms Karin ANDERSEN

Votes: 51 in favor 83 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 3, insert the following paragraph:

"The Assembly welcomes the European Parliament resolution on 13 June expressing "concerns regarding the disproportionate and excessive use of force by the police in Turkey" and underlining the importance of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and peaceful protest which are also core values of the European Union (EU)."

4The Parliamentary Assembly supports the statement of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of 25 June 2013 including the need to respect the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the use of force against protesters.
5The Assembly points out that freedom of assembly and association, including unorganised and non-authorised protest, is an essential right in a democracy, safeguarded by Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) and constantly upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in its case law. Any restriction of this right must be provided for by law and be necessary in a democratic society. It is for the authorities to guarantee the exercise of the right of freedom of expression and demonstration.
6Therefore, in instances of popular protest, the role of law-enforcement bodies is to protect the rights of demonstrators, their freedom of association and expression, while protecting others, as well as public and private property. In so doing, they must apply clearly established standards and guidelines, upon instructions from an accountable hierarchy.
7The Assembly deplores recent cases of excessive use of force to disperse demonstrators and reiterates its call on the authorities to ensure that police action, where necessary, remains proportionate. Referring to the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, it underlines the serious health consequences of the use of tear gas.
8The Assembly recalls that citizens are entitled to objective and full information and it is for the authorities to guarantee conditions conducive to the effective exercise of media freedom and freedom of expression, in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. In particular, it underlines the need to clarify the issues of ownership and independence of the media.
9Consequently, the Assembly urges the Council of Europe member States, where appropriate, to take the necessary measures to bring their legislation into line with Council of Europe standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, including as regards freedom of expression, of the media and of assembly, and invites them to:
9.1guarantee freedom of assembly and demonstration in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and ensure that this freedom can be exercised in practice;
9.2duly investigate the use of excessive or disproportionate force by members of the law- enforcement forces and impose sanctions on those responsible;
9.3reinforce human rights training for members of the security forces, and also for judges and prosecutors, in partnership with the Council of Europe;
9.4 draw up clear instructions concerning the use of tear gas (pepper spray) and prohibit its use in confined spaces;
9.5ensure media freedom, put an end to harassment and arrests of journalists and the searches of media premises and refrain from imposing sanctions on media outlets covering popular protests, in line also with Resolution 1920 (2013) on the state of media freedom in Europe;
9.6reform the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as anti-terrorism legislation and the Administrative Code, whenever the relevant legislation is not in line with Council of Europe standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights;
9.7examine means of consulting the population or involving it in the management of public affairs, both at local and national levels, drawing on relevant European standards and good practices, in line also with Resolution 1746 (2010) on democracy in Europe: crisis and perspectives.

26 June 2013

Tabled by Ms Lolita ČIGĀNE, Ms Marietta de POURBAIX-LUNDIN, Ms Inese LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Ms Mailis REPS

Votes: 116 in favor 16 against 5 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 9.7, insert the following paragraph:

"refrain from unnecessary administrative and organizational hurdles on the work of civil society organizations by subjecting them to controls, fines and penalties. Such excessive practices intensify popular discontent and may lead to further increased popular protest activity."

10Finally, the Assembly invites the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to consider drawing up guidelines in respect of human rights in the policing of demonstrations.