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Brutal Violence Perpetrated Against Demonstrators in the Czech Republic:

Policing of large demonstrations in the Czech Republic in recent times, especially those which took place in September 2000 during the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund meeting in Prague, have resulted in numerous violations of international standards by law enforcement authorities. The Czech government has a duty to ensure that the sorts of human rights violations committed in September 2000 are not repeated. Policing must be carried out in such a way as to ensure respect for and protect the rights of people engaged in peaceful protest. In the past, operations by law enforcement officials have violated international standards on arrest and detention, the use of force and firearms and the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

After the protests of September 2000, human rights organizations made investigation into reports of arbitrary detention, ill-treatment of detainees and other violations of detained protestors’ rights. These have included violation of their right to prompt access to a legal

counsel of their choice; to inform a third party of their whereabouts; to be informed about their rights and any charges against them in a language that they can understand; to adequate medical treatment and to conditions of detention respectful of the inherent dignity of the human person.

The European Parliament requested states to 'avoid blocking borders or denying individuals or groups of people who seek to participate peacefully in legitimate demonstrations the right to cross borders'. It also recommended that states 'avoid the use of guns', 'avoid a disproportionate use of force and instruct national police forces to control violence and preserve individual rights even in confused crowd scenarios where violent lawbreakers are mixed with peaceful law-abiding citizens.'

AI INDEX: EUR 71/001/2002 16 November 2002

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Copyright © Laura Rowe.