1) All individuals should have the freedom to take part in protests without discrimination on any grounds, as stipulated in Principle 3. Decisions by the authorities concerning the right to protest should not have a discriminatory impact, and must be free of both direct and indirect discrimination.
2) There should be a presumption in favour of children enjoying and exercising their right to protest on an equal basis with adults. States should abolish requirements about minimum age and parental permission which limit children’s or young people’s right to protest, as such blanket restrictions disproportionately impact the rights of children and, potentially, their parents or carers. Instead, states should recognise the evolving capacities of children, the principle that children’s capacities increase as they develop, and recognise the developing ability of a child to exercise their own rights.
3) There should be a presumption in favour of exercising the right to protest. States should abolish all legislation, regulations and practices that require, in law or effect, prior permission or licenses in order for protests to take place. Notification regimes for protests should be voluntary.
4) On a practical note, in recognition of the fact that notification regimes for protests are used by some states as a means of regulating the use of public spaces, states should take immediate steps to ensure that any notification regimes currently in force conform fully to the following conditions:
a) The purpose of any notification regime should be to enable states to put in place the necessary arrangements to facilitate protests;
b) Organisers should be expected to submit only a notice of intent to organise protests and never a request for permission to hold a protest;
c) Notice periods should be limited to a maximum of 48 hours before the protests are due to take place;
d) Exceptions to the notification requirement should always be allowed for spontaneous protests where it is impractical to give advance notice. Public authorities should always be obliged to protect and facilitate spontaneous protests as long as they are peaceful in nature;
e) Any notification regime should also clearly stipulate:
i) The agency or institution responsible for receiving notifications;
ii) That notifications can be communicated by any means and should be limited to information about the time, place and form of the protest, and not requiring disclosure of the purpose or content of the protest;
iii) A specific and reasonable time period within which the responsible agency or institution is obliged to respond: in the absence of a response within the set period of time, it should be presumed that organisers can proceed in accordance with the terms notified;
iv) Where notifications are given for simultaneous assemblies, i.e. two or more protests at the same place and time, each should be facilitated as well as possible. In the absence of such a possibility, a ‘first come, first served’ rule should be adopted, according to which the venue will be given to those who filed their notification first;
v) The specific processes which the authorities can follow in order to facilitate more than one protest in one location, including counterdemonstrations that may be spontaneous;
vi) The obligation to publicise decisions about notifications in order to ensure that the public has access to information on events taking place in public places.
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