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Filtered by: Freedom of Association and Assembly

Zurich March for Life Disrupted by Violent Counter-Demo

September 14, 2019, Switzerland

The approved rally "March for Life" in Zurich on the afternoon of September 14th was disrupted by an unauthorized counter-demonstration. More than a thousand peaceful participants in the March for Life gathered on the Turbinenplatz to begin the march on an approved route in the city. At the same time, several hundred people -- called by some press reports a Red-Green alliance -- some with prams containing objects to be thrown (including stones and bottles), convened on the Josefswiese to start an unauthorized counter-demonstration parade. As they attempted to stop the counter-demo and prevent a clash with the March for Life, police were attacked with objects, including bottles and stones. Dumpsters were set on fire, a police vehicle was demolished, and firefighters were hindered by the protesters. In response, the police used a water cannon, rubber bullets, and tear gas to deter the protesters. Due to the violence, the police stopped the March for Life temporarily and ultimately shortened the route to prevent an encounter with the counter-demonstrators, some of whom were masked.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Insult or Incitement

Richmond Council "Buffer Zone" Challenged in Court

May 23, 2019, United Kingdom

Legal proceedings were launched in the High Court against Richmond Council to challenge a controversial Public Space Protection Order (“PSPO”) around an abortion clinic on Rosslyn Road that makes it a criminal offense to, among other things, pray or have conversations about abortion. The legal challenge has been brought by Justyna Pasek, who has personally supported women visiting the abortion clinic in Richmond for over five years, offering them alternatives to abortion.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Violent Attacks against Pro-Life Prayer Vigils in Manchester and Nottingham

March 12, 2019, United Kingdom

Police began a public order offense investigation on March 12th in Manchester after an angry individual screamed obscenities at elderly members of the 40 Days for Life group and sent chairs and leaflets flying outside an abortion clinic. A day earlier, in Nottingham, three people praying outside a medical centre were accosted by a man who swore at them and threw a jug of lumpy yellow liquid at them. Police began an investigation for assault as well as a hate crime motivated by the victims' religious beliefs.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Crime

Street Preacher Arrested to "Prevent Breach of the Peace"

February 23, 2019, United Kingdom

An elderly man preaching at the Southgate Underground Station was arrested by London police after he refused to leave the area, telling him he was "disturbing people's days" and needed to go away. The police seized the man's Bible despite his pleas not to take it.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Exclusion Zone Legislation Passed in Ireland

February 18, 2019, Ireland

At a meeting of Louth County Council on February 18, 2019, a motion to prohibit any pro-life vigils within 500 meters of a hospital or clinic that provides abortion services was passed by a majority vote. Health Minister Simon Harris has called for such exclusion zones throughout Ireland.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

UK Court agrees to hear Challenge to Ban on Pro-Life Prayer Outside Abortion Center

January 11, 2019, United Kingdom

A British court has ruled that a pro-life activist may challenge a legal decision banning prayer and support for women in crisis pregnancies outside a Marie Stopes clinic.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Pro-Life Student Group Banned at University in Scotland

November 27, 2018, United Kingdom

The Aberdeen University Students' Association (Ausa) prevented the affiliation of the Aberdeen Life Ethics Society, a pro-life student group. This means that the group would not be recognized as an official club of the University and thus would not be eligible to receive any funding for their events. The Ausa has an explicit pro-choice policy supporting "free, safe and legal access to abortion." The Life Ethics Society challenged the ban and accused the Ausa of censorship.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly

Christian Group Ordered to Pay for Extra Security at Oxford Event

October 29, 2018, United Kingdom

Oxford students voted to ban Christian Concern from hosting its Wilberforce Academy residential conference at Lady Margaret Hall, calling the group a “real threat to the physical and mental safety of students.” The college, however, said it would permit the group to use its facilities provided that it paid for extra security. A college spokesperson said that Christian Concern's "opposition to abortion, Islam and LGBTQ+" rights would lead to protests so it needed to pay "additional security costs."

Contractual Freedom Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

High Court Upholds "Buffer Zones" around Abortion Clinic; Appeal Filed

July 2, 2018, United Kingdom

The High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. High Court Judge Mark Turner said that Ealing Council in London was justified in creating a 328-foot exclusion zone to prevent any pro-life gathering or speech, including prayer, within 100 meters of the clinic. Two women plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

British MPs Demand "Buffer Zones" Outside Abortion Facilities

June 1, 2018, United Kingdom

One hundred sixty-one members of the British Parliament are demanding that Home Secretary Sajid Javid act on a proposal to introduce exclusion or "buffer zones” around abortion facilities, which would ban pro-life prayer, protest, and counseling of women conflicted about abortion.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Bulgarian Catholics and Protestants Unite to Oppose Proposed Religious Law: Updated

May 13, 2018, Bulgaria

Catholic and Protestant communities in Bulgaria have unified their efforts to prevent the adoption of two legislative proposals put before the parliamentary assembly in May 2018. The first, sponsored by the conservative GERB, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, would permit state subsidies only for major religious denominations. The second, tabled by the United Patriots, would require greater oversight of religious activities and financing.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

More Abortion Clinic "Buffer Zones" Considered by Councils

April 23, 2018, United Kingdom

After the Ealing local council voted to ban prayer vigils and protests outside an abortion clinic by issuing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) earlier in April, at least eight councils in the United Kingdom considered implementing abortion clinic "buffer zones."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

UK Council Bans Pro-Life Vigils outside Abortion Clinic

April 10, 2018, United Kingdom

A London local council voted unanimously on April 10th to ban pro-life vigils outside a local abortion center that have been taking place without incident for 23 years. The Ealing council voted to use a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to stop pro-life advocates from praying outside the Ealing Marie Stopes abortion clinic and offering help to women as they enter or exit the building. Pro-lifers must now stay 100 meters away from the abortion center. It will be the first "buffer zone" in the United Kingdom.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Parents Halt School Procession during Holy Week

March 23, 2018, Spain

The parents of a two-year old student objected to the school participating in the Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows) procession. The Escuela Infantil Sagrada Familia organized the procession from the school to the neighborhood parish on March 23rd as part of the traditional celebrations of the Holy Week. The school council approved the voluntary event, but the Andalusian educational authority cancelled it after the parents complained.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Rights of Parents

Christians Assaulted for Protesting Sexually Explicit Ads in the Netherlands

March 11, 2018, Netherlands

Catholic protesters holding a prayer rally were physically harassed, spat on, and assaulted by LGBT activists on March 11th while denouncing retailer Suitsupply's advertising campaign featuring men "groping and kissing" each other.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly

Council Votes in Favor of Buffer Zone around Abortion Clinic

February 7, 2018, United Kingdom

In a vote that would create the second so-called "buffer zone" around an abortion clinic in the UK, the Richmond Council voted in favor of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) around a clinic run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. If it receives final approval at the next council meeting, the PSPO would make it a crime to hold prayer vigils near the clinic. The broadly-worded PSPO would also prohibit any form of interaction with staff or visitors to the clinic.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

Universities in Germany Excluding Christian Groups

January 28, 2018, Germany

The climate at Germany's universities has become increasingly anti-religious. The German Student Mission (SMD) collected and documented dozens of cases of discrimination against student-run religious groups, including Christian groups. Discrimination has included denying the groups the use of campus facilities, prohibitions on flyers, and denial of accreditation by student councils. For Christian groups, accreditation has been denied both because "religion has no place on campus" and objections to the groups' moral stances on controversial topics.

Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly

Manchester Votes to Ban Pro-Life Protests outside Clinics

January 24, 2018, United Kingdom

Manchester became the second local authority in England to vote to ban pro-life protests and prayer vigils outside clinics. Councillors in the city agreed on January 24th to "take all necessary actions within its powers" to stop what it said was the harassment by protesters against women using the clinics. After this vote, protests would not be banned, but the city will investigate whether a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is warranted.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression

London Assembly Passed Motion to Clarify Police Power in "Buffer Zones"

December 21, 2017, United Kingdom

On December 21, 2017 the London Assembly passed a motion calling on the mayor to “clarify the powers available to [police] to arrest and prosecute” pro-life campaigners who pray near abortion clinics, accusing them of “obstruction, intimidation and harassment” and “threatening behavior.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Christian Celebration in Turkish-Cyprus Temporarily Prohibited

September 5, 2017, Cyprus

The Cypriot Orthodox Metropolis of Morphou was banned from holding its annual patron saint feast service. The ban was passed at the last minute and the official justification was that it was not possible to guarantee the safety of the Christian celebration because of the simultaneous Muslim festival of Kurban Bairam.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Religion