Report: The Power of ‘the Street’, protecting the right to peaceful protest in Poland

Amnesty’s latest follow-up report highlights the state’s response to peaceful protest in Poland, especially towards LGBTQI+ activism. Protest is a fundamental right that should be protected as everyone has the right to act on their conscience and stand in solidarity.

Almost every week, people take to the streets in various towns and cities across Poland to protest. They demonstrate against the government’s ongoing attempts to restrict human rights, including women’s rights; to challenge growing nationalism and xenophobia; and to oppose threats to the environment.

This latest report Poland: The Power of ‘the Street’, Protecting the Right to Peaceful Protest in Poland report is a follow-up to the October 2017 Amnesty International report On the Streets to Defend Human Rights. It documents the state response to peaceful protest in Poland which continues to be marked by ongoing harassment and prosecution.

It also documents the effect of legislation adopted in 2016 that broadened the surveillance powers of Polish law enforcement agencies. As a result, people do not know when they are under surveillance or by whom, giving rise to a climate of uncertainty and fear.

Amnesty International has documented the following patterns of the increasingly shrinking space that raise concerns over the rights to freedom of assembly and expression in Poland:

  • Crackdown on protest manifested by the use of force against demonstrators, lack of accountability for breaches of the human rights, and criminalization of peaceful protest;
  • Differential treatment of assemblies in law and practice;
  • Surveillance of activists;
  • Undermining the independence of judiciary that plays an important role in upholding the right to freedom of assembly and expression.

The report provides key recommendations for authorities in Poland to protect the rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

The full report can be found here.

Right now, governments in Australia and around the world are cracking down on our right to protest. Too many people in power who fear change and want to keep us divided are suppressing protests and silencing critical voices. A protest is a powerful tool for change — when people stand up and speak out for human rights, they change the world for the better. It must be protected.

Find out more about our right to protest campaign.

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