The Crushing of Dissent

The annual Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was held this week in Vienna, focusing on the topic of freedom of assembly.

Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE) and the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) have repeatedly pointed out that the right of peaceful assembly to legitimate groups of citizens is being increasingly denied all across Western Europe.

BPE filed an intervention today that focused in particular on the suppression of the English Defence League, noting that the British authorities allow violent leftists almost complete freedom to counter-demonstrate and even assault the members of the EDL, while the police harass, disperse, and arrest EDL protesters.

Pax Europa

Statement by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting

Working Session 2

Freedom of Assembly and Association
Vienna, November 8, 2012


During yesterday’s speech Ambassador Lenarcic mentioned the people’s right to organize themselves for particular purposes and that all people in the OSCE area must be able to exercise this right.

While much and encouraging progress has been made especially east of Vienna, the situation is markedly deteriorating west of Vienna, the United Kingdom and Germany being two cases in point. For Germany I refer to my intervention from yesterday’s session.

Legal and registered demonstrations organized by the English Defence League have turned into police interrogations of the demonstrators, and where those opposing the rally using violence were not arrested because police deemed an arrest “unsafe” in a hostile environment. The democratic right to peaceful assembly and association with respect to the English Defence League is applicable only to some groups. Dissenting opinions are crushed by force, intimidation and inconvenience to the demonstrators.

These methods employed by those attacking peaceful demonstrations seem to follow a systematic strategy:

  • By means of escalating otherwise peaceful street events and political campaigns to street battles, ordinary citizens are intimidated from attending such events.
  • The radical groups are actively preparing for and seeking confrontation with police at these events, apparently having as a secondary aim to present themselves as victims of police brutality, in spite of these groups being the attacking part and the real source of violence.

BPE recommends that OSCE institutions increase this activity:

As the problems for freedom of assembly are increasing, in particular in participating States west of Vienna, ICLA urges OSCE to significantly increase its monitoring activities in these countries. Neutral monitoring and reporting is urgently needed in order that peaceful citizens can safely exercise their right to freedom of assembly, as stipulated in OSCE principles.

Recommendation to OSCE participating States

  • That law enforcement agencies increase their efforts to quickly and accurately identify the source of violence at public events, in order to actively and immediately deal with any threats, that the protected events may proceed as planned.
  • That threats and violence against organizers and/or their partners, suppliers etc. be treated as politically motivated and persecuted more effectively under the law.

Previous posts about the OSCE and the Counterjihad:

2009   Jul   25   A Report on the OSCE Roundtable
    Sep   30   ICLA Tackles Fundamental Freedoms at the OSCE Meeting in Warsaw
    Oct   1   The ICLA Meets the OSCE, Round 2
    Nov   5   The OSCE: Islam and Violence Against Women
        7   Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding Under Fire At OSCE Meeting in Vienna
        7   “Hate Speech” Accusations at the OSCE Meeting
        8   What is Medica Zenica?
        10   Report on the OSCE Supplementary Human Rights Dimension Meeting
2011   Oct   28   ESW: Liveblogging In Vienna
        28   Steering Public Discourse
        28   Fallacies That Deserve Correction
        29   Towards a “Responsible” Freedom of Speech in Europe
        29   Islamophobia, Islamic Slander, and the OSCE
    Nov   10   The OSCE Fights Racism and Xenophobia in Vienna
        10   When Good Intentions Go Bad
        12   ESW: The ACT! For America Interview at OSCE
        12   OSCE: The murky waters of political correctness
        29   ACT! For America: A Report on the OSCE Meeting in Vienna
2012   Oct   2   OSCE Warsaw: Which Human Rights?
        2   OSCE Warsaw: Apostasy and Its Consequences
        2   OSCE Warsaw: ICLA Demands the Abrogation of the Cairo Declaration
        2   OSCE Warsaw: Join the Brussels Process!
        2   OSCE Warsaw: Islamophobia, Occupation and Slander
        2   OSCE Warsaw: Islam as a Political Ideology
        2   OSCE Warsaw: A Thinly Veiled Threat of Violence
        2   OSCE Warsaw: Define Your Terms!
        2   OSCE Warsaw: Bashing Islamophobia
        3   OSCE Warsaw: The Battle Has Begun
        3   OSCE Warsaw: Tolerance and Non-Discrimination II
        3   OSCE Warsaw: “Hate Crimes”
        3   OSCE Warsaw: Kamal Fahmi on Freedom of Speech
        3   OSCE Warsaw: The ICLA Side Event
        3   OSCE Warsaw: An Advocate for Hamas Representing the U.S. Government
        4   OSCE Warsaw: “Threats Have No Place Here”
        8   OSCE Warsaw: The MPAC Connection
        12   OSCE Warsaw: A Response to Salam al-Marayati
        13   OSCE Warsaw: ICLA Side Event on the Cairo Declaration
        14   OSCE Warsaw: A Major Victory for Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
        19   OSCE Warsaw: HDIM 2012 Wrap-Up
    Nov   8   Intimidated into Silence
        9   The Methods of a Totalitarian Society
        9   ICLA Calls For International Monitors At Protests In Western Europe