Top Polish court gives green light to new rules on public gatherings
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland’s top court has given the green light to a controversial bill limiting public gatherings, which Polish President Andrzej Duda declined to sign late last year.
Poland's Constitutional Tribunal. Photo: Maciej Śmiarowski/KPRM.
The government bill gives priority to gatherings organized by public authorities, churches and religious groups and enables regional authorities to give three-year permits for regular gatherings at a given site, bans counter-rallies from taking place in the same place as public assemblies and enforces a minimum 100-metre distance between gatherings.
Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that the regularly organised gatherings do not violate the country’s constitution.
Poland’s ombudsman and a number of non-government organisations earlier said the bill stunted civil liberties and called for Duda to veto the proposed legislation.
Duda directed the bill to the constitutional court in December, saying: “Freedom of assembly is an essential element of democracy and a prerequisite for [exercising] other human rights and freedoms related to the sphere of public life”.
It was the first time the Law and Justice (PiS) party-backed president directed a piece of legislation to the tribunal since the PiS government swept into power in October 2015. (vb/pk)