Under the siege: Freedom of Peaceful Gathering in France during Recent Protests


Peaceful protests and demonstrations that have erupted across France since January 2023 as part of the social movement opposing the government's proposed pension system reform have exposed France's shortcomings in terms of respecting public freedoms and human rights, including the right to freedom of demonstration and peaceful assembly. Despite France's claims of being an ideal model for upholding human rights and presenting itself as a role model to other nations, the serious violations that have occurred during the recent protests highlight that the French government still has a long way to go in safeguarding the human rights of all its citizens, particularly the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. More efforts are needed to ensure the unrestricted and unconditional realization of the right to freedom of demonstration and peaceful assembly for all individuals.

While Maat continues its work on the "50 x 30 Human Rights for All" campaign, aimed at promoting and raising awareness about the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), this paper focuses on the progress made in implementing Article 20 thereof, which pertains to freedom of peaceful assembly. It specifically examines the recent protests that have been marred by a wide range of human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators and protesters, including the excessive use of force by law enforcement, arbitrary arrests, and detention under unjust conditions.

 In light of the aforementioned issues, Maat addresses this paper through two main axes. The first axis delves into the legal framework governing freedom of peaceful assembly in France, while the second axis focuses on the violations and arbitrary practices that have occurred during the recent protests as citizens sought to exercise their right to peaceful assembly.


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