Short paper series no 1: ‘Policing Assemblies’

In 2013 the first Short paper was produced on the policing of assemblies. The research helped to identify a number of successful approaches around the world, that sought to effectively and constructively facilitate peaceful assemblies. The paper focuses in particular on police practices in a number of countries that aim at preventing violence to occur, avoiding the need to resort to the use of force, and – where force is unavoidable – to reduce the use of force to the minimum necessary.

It is not an overall analysis of the general – good or bad – handling of public assemblies by the authorities of the countries mentioned, but rather seeks to identify some useful practical considerations which may contribute to ensure that public assemblies can take place in a smooth and peaceful way. These considerations should also be the focus of those monitoring the policing of assemblies, such as AI staff members and other human rights actors, as well as journalists. In our short paper we suggest in particular to have a comprehensive look at the situation from the very initial planning stages to the aftermath of a public assembly in order to identify more precisely the short comings were violence occurred and police have resorted to the use of force.