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Warsaw. The Ombudsman writes to the Warsaw Police Headquarters regarding the Smolensk monthlies

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“The constitutional freedom of public assembly also includes the right to organize counter-demonstrations and publicly present views opposed to another assembly in the same place and time. Peaceful manifestation of the views of counter-demonstration participants should not be the basis for police intervention” – we read in the letter of the Commissioner for Citizens’ Rights to the Warsaw Police Headquarters on monthly Smolensk.

The Commissioner for Human Rights reminds about the court’s decision, which allowed the complaint of a person from the association Flying Brigade of the Opposition. It is about her detention on June 10, 2022 at Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. “The court indicated that her actions lacked the features of any crime or misdemeanor” – he pointed out.

Stanisław Trociuk, Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights, forwarded comments to the capital’s police commander, Chief Inspector Paweł Dzierżak, with a request to “take them into account in the future implementation of the constitutional freedom of assembly of the Flying Opposition Brigade”. He then described them in detail in the communiqué.

READ: Police officers on a fire boom at the premises of the Flying Opposition Brigade. “Safety considerations”.

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“The officers took many actions to hinder the reported assemblies”

Earlier, the Ombudsman received an application from the association regarding “systematic restriction of the freedom of public assembly in relation to assemblies organized by them in close proximity to cyclical assemblies, held on the 10th day of each month to commemorate the victims of the Smolensk catastrophe”. Trociuk assured that assemblies of applicants are preceded by a notification of the commune authority, “in accordance with the Law on Assemblies”.

The association indicated that since 2021, officers have taken “many actions to hinder the reported assemblies. This was to consist, among others, in not allowing participants to the planned place of legal assembly and confiscation of sound equipment.”

Police protecting Piłsudski Square in Warsaw during the celebrations related to the Smolensk monthTVN24

SEE ALSO: Cops everywhere. Streets closed to traffic, disoriented residents. “Monthly Circus”

The court’s decision after the complaint of the detained by the police

The Ombudsman stated that in the course of the analysis of the case, among others, with the decision of the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście in Warsaw of September 7, 2022. It took into account the citizen’s complaint against her detention on June 10, 2022.

In the justification, the court stated, inter alia, that “the applicant went to Park Saski in order to take part in a legal assembly, previously notified to the competent authorities, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. persons intending to take part in the assembly in Saski Park, including the applicant, were detained by police officers and subjected to ID cards and baggage checks (…) The police allowed the participants of the planned assembly to leave only after the end of the cyclical assembly (.. .)”.

The Commissioner for Human Rights reminded that, according to the court, “the complainant was in Park Saski in order to exercise her right to participate in peaceful assemblies (Article 57 of the Constitution) and to express her views (Article 54(1) of the Constitution)”. He assured that neither the applicant nor any other participants in the assembly “had committed any violation of the law in connection with that assembly, which would justify taking any action against them by the police officers”. It was assessed that the actions of the police “de facto deprived the applicant and others of the possibility of exercising the rights guaranteed by the Constitution”.

“The circumstances of the case show, moreover, that this was the aim of the police’s action. Such was the effect of surrounding the applicant and other persons and depriving them of the possibility of free movement. the complainant to attend the meeting at the notified place and time.

The court also stated that “the behavior of the complainant and other participants in the assembly did not show signs of any crime or misdemeanour, therefore there was no general premise in the present case allowing the applicant to be detained, i.e. a reasonable suspicion that a crime or misdemeanor had been committed.” In the opinion of the Ombudsman, the mere fear that the complainant may disrupt the course of the cyclical assembly “does not constitute a premise justifying taking any official actions against her, especially those resulting in the deprivation of her liberty. Thus, the complainant’s detention on June 10, 2022 should be considered unjustified”.

Court: the monthly is not a public gathering. PiS: this is the collapse of the Polish judiciaryThe celebrations of the Smolensk monthlies are not public assemblies, because the organizers limit access to them, the court ruled, discontinuing the proceedings against the participants of the counter-monthlies. PiS is indignant, and the opposition asks: what about the costs borne by the state? TVN facts

Commissioner for Human Rights: freedom of public assembly also includes counter-demonstrations

In the context of a final court decision, the Commissioner for Human Rights indicates that “the freedom of public assembly, protected in Article 57 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, also includes the right to organize counter-demonstrations and publicly present views opposite to another public assembly held at the same time”. He also adds that “the expression of views by the participants of the counter-demonstration, in the form of a peaceful manifestation, should not be the basis for intervention by the Police against its participants.”

It also emphasizes that the cyclical assemblies referred to in Art. 26a of the Assemblies Act does not enjoy any additional rights other than the priority of choosing the place and time of the assembly. “The protection of these assemblies should therefore not lead to a disproportionate restriction of the rights of participants in other legal public assemblies,” notes the Commissioner for Human Rights.

READ: Emotions, costs and problems. Another Smolensk month is behind us.

In his opinion, there are doubts about taking actions in relation to participants of an assembly organized in the vicinity of a cyclical assembly and using amplification devices pursuant to Art. 52 § 2 point 1 of the Code of Petty Offenses (according to it, an offense is committed by anyone who “interferes or attempts to interfere with the organization or course of a non-prohibited assembly”).

During the September month, the gendarmerie and the police protected the monument to the victims of the Smolensk catastrophe

During the September month, the gendarmerie and the police protected the monument to the victims of the Smolensk catastropheDuring the September month, the gendarmerie and the police protected the monument to the victims of the Smolensk catastrophetvn24

“The sole loud shouting of slogans against another assembly cannot be regarded as disturbing the course of the assembly. The role of the security services is not to assess the content of the slogans shouted by the participants of the demonstration, as long as they do not violate the provisions of applicable law” – he continues.

“It should be remembered that the constitutionally protected freedom of speech (Article 54(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland) also includes statements that may be considered controversial and offensive. It should also be recalled that in the light of Article 156(2) of the Environmental Protection Law it is permissible to use sound devices during legal public assemblies – and such assemblies should be considered as assemblies reported to the commune authority on the basis of the Law on Assemblies.

Main photo source: TVN24

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