The state is obliged to provide and to cover costs related to the holding of assemblies in public spaces, including security, medical care, and cleaning.
- Where needed, States must also protect participants against possible abuse by non-state actors, such as interference or violence by other members of the public, counterdemonstrators and private security providers.
- States must respect and ensure counterdemonstrations as assemblies in their own right, while preventing undue disruption of the assemblies to which they are opposed.
- Requirements for participants or organizers either to arrange for or to contribute towards the costs of policing or security, medical assistance or cleaning, or other public services associated with peaceful assemblies are generally not compatible with article 21.
- Law enforcement officials involved in policing assemblies must respect and ensure the exercise of the fundamental rights of organizers and participants, while also protecting journalists, monitors and observers, medical personnel and other members of the public, as well as public and private property, from harm.
- States have a positive duty to facilitate and protect the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This duty should be reflected in the legislative framework and relevant law enforcement regulations and practices. It includes a duty to facilitate assemblies at the organizer’s preferred location and within ‘sight and sound’ of the intended audience. The duty to protect also involves the protection of assembly organizers and participants from third party individuals or groups who seek to undermine their right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- Law enforcement agencies should adopt a human rights-based approach to all aspects of the planning, preparation and policing of assemblies. This means they take into consideration their duty to facilitate and protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- Given the state’s duty to facilitate assemblies, and its general public order mandate, the authorities may not levy charges on assembly organizers for providing relevant services, including adequate and appropriate policing, medical services or health and safety provisions, such as street cleaning.
- States have a positive obligation to promote the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This requires States not merely to refrain from interfering with assemblies, but also to take positive steps to enable individuals to express their views, including through protecting assemblies from attacks by third parties and by otherwise facilitating the ability for the right to freedom of assembly to be exercised.