Protest bill aims to boost respect for public space

Protest bill aims to boost respect for public space

Draft legislation discussed during a cabinet meeting on Monday foresees measures to ensure that street protests do not create undue upheaval for city dwellers.

According to the proposed bill, organizers of street protests must inform authorities 48 hours in advance of the event and a government official will be tasked with coordinating with organizers and informing the police of any problems.

Meanwhile there are plans to set up a digital platform to inform citizens which roads are to be closed on protest days.

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said the bill was aimed at safeguarding the right of citizens to stage peaceful protests alongside their right to security and to a daily life without inordinate disruptions.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis indicated that the reform was long overdue. “The basic message we must impress on society is that a street cannot be closed by 50 people,” he said. “Do organizers of street protests aim to inconvenience the public or to raise awareness?” he added. “If it’s the latter, the government’s initiative has support beyond New Democracy,” he said, adding that the bill was aimed at boosting respect for public spaces.

The bill will be put up for public consultation before the end of the year and voted on in 2020.

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