Yesterday, on 19. September, the human rights NGO Amnesty International, under the slogan "Protect the protest", prepared a research report on the international situation regarding the fundamental civil-democratic right of freedom of assembly. The report, shows very clearly the increasing fascist tendencies, which appear worldwide more openly and more frequently. Also in the FRG, according to Amnesty, the right to protest is "under attack".

In the course of its research, Amnesty found, on an international level, that the right to freedom of assembly is increasingly being restricted. This also makes sense. In the midst of the international economic crisis of imperialism, the reactionarization of the various states  in the world is being pushed ever more strongly as a reaction to it worldwide. The more the crisis of imperialism comes to a head, the more the reactionary character of this system also comes to a head. Although in the form of government of bourgeois democracy, maintaining the illusion of supposed "co-determination" and "basic democratic values" is important in order to keep the masses as quiet as possible, in the wake of the crisis the masses are increasingly pushed by the growing deterioration of their living conditions not to keep quiet, but to rebel. In response, the rulers are increasingly responding to emerging protest with police batons and imprisonment. Piece by piece, the demoliberal principles of bourgeois democracy are being negated further and further, which is confirmed by the aforementioned research. The report includes a list of countries where Amnesty believes freedom of assembly is increasingly under threat. They write, "The Protest Map sheds light on the severe repression demonstrators face around the world - protesters experience violence, are arbitrarily detained, tortured, abused, victims of enforced disappearances or killed." Germany is also part of those countries on this list.

In the course of the report, in the german part, Amnesty addresses various laws enacted in recent years that aim to undermine freedom of assembly. Very obvious examples of these would be the (as the name suggests) new assembly laws in the various German states, which, as Amnesty says, "show a trend towards more restrictive regulation of assemblies." It highlights the new assembly laws in North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, saying, "North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, for example, enacted restrictive assembly laws in 2022 and 2023 that make it more difficult to register assemblies, allow for more police powers of control and surveillance, and impose harsh criminal penalties. These laws are far-reaching and disproportionately restrict the right of assembly, which can limit both freedom of expression and freedom of assembly."

Amnesty also mentions the police laws of the German states. In particular, the Bavarian police task law, which allows extensive preventive deprivations of liberty and creates the basis for circumventing the fundamental right to a trial and arbitrarily imprisoning people without them even having committed a crime. This has also been implemented against political activists in the recent past.

The increasing tendency to severely restrict or outright ban protests has also been examined by Amnesty. Thus they write: "In Germany, protests are sometimes perceived by state authorities primarily as a threat to public order and security, which leads to their demonization and criminalization.... Preventive restrictions or even bans on protests are an expression of this development." Examples of this are the protests on Nakba Day in Berlin, which were banned in the recent years on the basis of racist arguments, and then violently dispersed by the police. But also the so-called "Corona protests", which were increasingly simply banned under the guise of "protection against infection", are listed. The so-called "terror paragraph" §129, a means of the German repressive apparatus to intimidate and criminalize political resistance, which is currently even used against pacifist climate activists, is also mentioned here.

The fact that the cops in this country are increasingly using excessive force against protests is also a growing phenomenon that has been observed by the NGO. This often affects not only those who participate in protests as demonstrators, but also journalists who document these protests on the ground. Amnesty also looks at the painful tactics used by the cops to stop protests, which the NGO says could in some cases violate the ban on torture. Another tactic used by the cops, which Amnesty is also concerned about, is the so-called "kettling," in which the cops surround large crowds of people and arbitrarily hold them captive in this kettle for hours at a time. At the protests against the prison sentence for the accused antifascists in the so-called "Antifa East trial", in June 2023 there is currently the best-known example of this tactic. There was such a kettle. Around 1,000 people, some of them minors, had to be held there by police without food, drink, medical care and sanitary facilities, for up to eleven hours in a kettle. The massive violence that the cops carried out at the G20 summit in Hamburg, on anyone unlucky enough to be within striking distance of their truncheons, and the fact that out of 150 investigations against police officers, almost all were dropped, despite evidence of police violence, is also noted by Amnesty. In addition, they write that this "excessive police force" and subsequent "lack of accountability" discourages further participation in protests, thus "undermining" freedom of assembly through "deterrent effects"

The report is partly quite interesting and shows well the reactionary repression of the rulers. On the other hand, it is of course not free of the psudedohumanist viewpoints of the authors. In this report they themselves show the nonsense of their petty-bourgeois pacifist ideas. So, of course, in the beginning of the report they write about the importance of peaceful protest. The whole attitude of Amnesty in this question is generally also this, that protest and resistance against the ruling conditions is quite legitimate and right, as long as it is peaceful. But if resistance is no longer peaceful, then it is also no longer legitimate. At least from the point of view of Amnesty. Accordingly, Amnesty denied the support for some revolutionary and anti-imperialist political prisoners who are confronted with torture, because they do not use peacefull resistance.

This whole argument that protest must be peaceful and must not use violence shows its nonsense, if you look at this report written by them, then you can ask, what peaceful protest does. Peaceful protest is tolerated by the rulers only as long as it is not dangerous for them. Wherever they can, they use it to spread their illusions of alleged "democratic values" and "participation" and to make people keep quiet and beg them for small changes instead of taking them. But as we can see, all the great "democratic values" are worth nothing as soon as the situation comes to a head even a little. As soon as protests get in the way of the rulers' interests, in any way, they quickly forget about freedom of assembly and clear the streets with the police batons. Amnesty itself has reported sufficiently on how this tendency is progressing. In such a situation, calling on people to demonstrate peacefully and not to use violence simply means calling on people to beg for their rights from the rulers. What the NGO does not consider, however, is that all democratic freedoms were never given to us by begging, but that every single right always had to be fought for, with blood and fire, by our class. And just, as democratic rights had to be fought for against the rulers then, every democratic right today has to be defended from them.