Peaceful Protests 'Become Almost Impossible' In Russia, Report Says.

Russian authorities have stifled people's right to peaceful protests to such an extent that is has become almost impossible for Russians to protest in any meaningful way, Amnesty International has said in a report.

"Authorities in Russia have eroded the right to freedom of peaceful assembly by using increasingly restrictive laws, and heavy-handed police tactics and criminal prosecutions to silence peaceful dissent," Amnesty said in Russia: No Place for Protest , issued ahead of parliamentary and local elections in Russia next month.

The report documents a clampdown on peaceful protests that Amnesty says began with the 2004 Federal Law on Assemblies and has accelerated in recent years.

"Russian authorities have been curtailing the right to freedom of assembly with incredible persistence and inventiveness for years," Oleg Kozlovsky, the organization's Russia researcher, said.

"As a result, peaceful street protest has come to be seen as a crime by state officials -- and an act of heroism by those Russians who still believe it is their right to exercise it."

"The unlawful restrictions, requirements, and harsh sanctions that Russian protesters face can only be described as Kafkaesque in their absurdity. It has taken the Russian authorities 16 years and 13 instances of parliamentary tinkering with legislation to make the right to freedom of peaceful assembly devoid of any genuine meaning," Kozlovsky added.

The report says that nine out of the 13 major amendments used by legislators to curtail the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Russia have been introduced since 2014, as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests and human rights guaranteed by international human rights law and Russia's own constitution.

It also details what Kozlovsky calls an excessive use of force by police officers, who have reportedly been documented "using martial-arts techniques against protesters, battering them mercilessly with batons, and, beginning this year, stunning them with electroshock weapons."

The London-based human rights watchdog called on Russian authorities to bring laws and practices in line with the constitution and international human rights obligations.

"The authorities must prohibit measures that change the aims or place of public gatherings, as well as the number of permitted participants, unless such decisions are taken in judicial proceedings."

Amnesty also urged the Russian authorities to respect spontaneous peaceful assemblies, "which should be considered lawful, when submission of a notification within the period prescribed by law is impossible or impractical."

The report calls on the government to make sure that the coming elections will be held in a different atmosphere.

"Next month's parliamentary elections give Russia the opportunity to change its approach to commit to promotion and protection of human rights including the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

"We want to remind candidates for elections and future legislators that the right to protest peacefully is not something they can give or take away. It is something everyone is entitled to, and the government should respect, protect, and promote this and devote its energy to ensuring, not undermining this right," Kozlovsky said.

With reporting by dpa

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Annual March Calls For Same-Sex Unions In Serbia

Annual March Calls For Same-Sex Unions In Serbia

Hundreds joined the annual LGBT Pride parade in Belgrade on September 18. Participants held banners with slogans such as "Love is a law," referring to their demand that Serbia allow the registration of same-sex unions. Unlike previous years, the m...

Radio Free Europe

Kyiv airing disappointment with Western policies

A fresh outreach to the Kremlin looks incongruous with Zelenskyy’s messages during his recent visit to the United States (August 31–September 2) and since. The Ukrainian authorities have flooded the country’s media with images of Zelenskyy’s effor...

Euromaidan Press

'The Five' rips Biden as thousands of migrants shelter under Texas bridge.

'The Five' rips Biden as thousands of migrants shelter under Texas bridge.

Panel reacts to the latest on what's happening at the Texas-Mexico border #FoxNews #TheFive Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering...

Robert Durst Found Guilty Of Murder

Robert Durst Found Guilty Of Murder

Multimillionaire real estate heir Robert Durst, 78, was found guilty of first degree murder in the 2000 killing of Susan Berman. NBC News’ Emilie Ikeda reports.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of in...

France Recalls Ambassador To U.S. In Response To New Defense Agreement

France Recalls Ambassador To U.S. In Response To New Defense Agreement

France announced it is recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after it said its Indo-Pacific interests had been undermined by a new agreement made by the Biden administration on nuclear submarines.» Subscribe to NBC News: » W...

FDA Advisory Panel Votes Against Vaccine Booster For Most Americans.

FDA Advisory Panel Votes Against Vaccine Booster For Most Americans.

An FDA advisory committee overwhelmingly rejected a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine for most adults, but in an unexpected second vote authorized its use for those 65 and older and people at high risk of contracting severe Covid-19.» Subscribe to NB...

Exclusive: Inside Look At World’s First 3D-Printed Rocket.

Exclusive: Inside Look At World’s First 3D-Printed Rocket.

It once took thousands of American engineers decades to get something into space. Now Relativity Space says its 3D printers can make a rocket in as little as two months. With a first launch planned for 2022, NBC News’ Jacob Ward speaks with CEO Ti...

Police visit Brian Laundrie's Florida home as search for Gabby Petito continues.

Police visit Brian Laundrie's Florida home as search for Gabby Petito continues.

Fox News correspondent Carley Shimkus has the latest on the search for Gabby Petito on 'Fox News Primetime' #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassin...