A New Democracy dream will soon come true. The Ministry of Citizen Protection submitted to Parliament a bill to take under control public gatherings. The bill stipulates the establishment of a “Directorate for the Prevention of Violence” , strict penalties and measures to restrict outdoor public gatherings and curb the right to gather, rally and and demonstrate.
Among others, the bill foresees criminal and civil liability to those who cause “trouble” as well as to the organizers of rallies. But also prison sentences for those who participate in “unlicensed gatherings.”
According to the announcement, the bill foresees one year imprisonment for those who participate in a rally that has been banned by the Police or the Coast Guard and two years behind bars for those who infiltrate a protest rally and commit violent acts. Organizers will have to come up for material damages.
Organizers will have to promptly notify police or port authorities about planned gatherings. However, a rally that has not been previously announced will not necessarily be deemed illegal.
Rally organizers will be held responsible for taking necessary measures to ensure public safety, such as informing demonstrators of a ban on objects that could be used for violent purposes and taking measures to prevent outsiders from infiltrating the rally.
Authorities will be able to ban a demonstration on the grounds of public safety or in cases where a it aims to counter a rally protesting a rival cause. They will be able to propose alternative areas where the counter-protest can be held.
Authorities will have the right to impose curbs on a planned or ongoing protest if the demonstration is expected to have a disproportionate socio-economic impact in a particular area.
Under Article 13, organizers of illegal gatherings will face up to one year in prison, and if violence takes place, perpetrators could receive sentences of up to two years. In addition, organizers will be responsible for the compensation of those who suffered material and physical damage inflicted by participants in the demonstration.
Furthermore, a website will provide real-time information on ongoing and planned rallies and demonstrations, as well on the traffic and transport disruptions they are causing.
The Parliament is expected to vote on the bill by July 10.
The draft bill has triggered strong reactions by the opposition.
as JFK said- “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”. politicians in support of this: hang on to your MAT swat teams tightly and pay them well because that will be all you have, pretty soon.