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Review of the character and validity of the punishment of the participants of the “Burial of Democracy” performance

The first part of this review concerns the issuing of a misdemeanor warrant for not reporting a public assembly. It was, in fact, about a performance that, as could be seen on May 22, did not have the quality of mass, nor was the goal of the performance animating a large number of people, but rather sending a message to the delegates in NARS regarding the current item on the agenda.

Whether this kind of performance is a public assembly that needs to be reported in terms of the Law on Public Assembly could be an interesting legal question, especially if we take into account the limited number of participants, i.e. the small number, the absence of danger or the need to take emergency measures.

Therefore, it is important to start from the question of why this artistic performance was not treated in accordance with the provision of Article 30, paragraph 1 of the Law on Public Assembly, which states: “Other public assemblies are assemblies of citizens whose purpose is to achieve state, religious, humanitarian, cultural, artistic, sports and other interests, which do not aim to generate income and are not registered.” Here it is clear that the legislator excluded certain types of assemblies from the obligation to register a public assembly. In particular, one should take into account the number of people at the assembly, the absence of invitations to citizens to join the assembly, as well as the absence of the need to take emergency measures. All this points to the fact that this artistic performance should have been seen in the context of this provision. It is also an important question whether mass assembly was a direct or indirect goal of the author. The answer is clearly negative. Were the messages of this performance aimed at citizens or did they invite citizens to do something? Also a negative answer. We come to the point that it is about an artistic performance by several authors that was directed only at the delegates in the NARS in the light of the agenda and the potential adoption of the Draft Law on “foreign agents”.

Because, let’s ask the question, why was the misdemeanor warrant issued? What is the damage, danger or potential danger that could occur with this kind of performance?

The absence of answers to these questions clearly points to the fact that the misdemeanor warrant and imposed fine in this particular case is primarily aimed at preventing the expression of opinions. According to this behavior of police officers, would every artistic performance on a public surface have to be registered as a public assembly? Of course it would not. Therefore, we come to the question of accessing and why exactly this artistic performance should be registered as a public assembly.

Read more about this HERE

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