Ukrainians banned from picketing the President. So as not to upset ordinary citizens

On 13 June the District Administrative Court in Kyiv banned all Ukrainian citizens without exception  from holding protests on Bankova and Lutheranska Street.  The ban was imposed for 7 months. The Interior Minister considers that protests could arouse “discontent among ordinary citizens and residents of adjacent buildings. Going by the resolution one can assume that the judge was intimidated.

Yet who could have done that? Who is capable to forcing a judge to pass unlawful, idiot…, baffling rulings?  Whose interests as the ruling intended to serve?

Of course THEY did it, ordinary citizens. It’s they who are frightened of peaceful gatherings and hate it when they picket the President and other officials. Dangerous, perfidious ordinary citizens!

Maybe it’s they who are presently lobbying for norms of the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office where they want to ban pickets of all prosecutor’s office premises.

This is not the first ruling which bans all protests outside a certain authority. There was such a ban outside the Prosecutor General’s Office. In 2012 there was a ban on protests from 17 September until the end of the year. In 2013 a ban was imposed from 1 March to 30 April.

The bans were and are being imposed with the numbers increasing exponentially.  According to the For Freedom of Peaceful Assembly partnership, 358 applications to ban peaceful gatherings were considered by the courts and 316 rulings were in favour of a ban. 124 people faced administrative liability for unauthorized demonstrations.

It’s clear that for Judge Keleberdi (the country should know its heroes), European Court of Human Rights judgements carry no weight.  One can assume from his ruling to ban pickets outside the President’s Administration that the judgement in the case of Vyerentsov v. Ukraine has not yet reached him, has not caught his eye.

As has not the European Convention on Human Rights. Nor did  Ukraine;s Main Law – the Constitution – become grounds for defending the rights of picketers.

PS  Meanwhile in the country there is discussion about whether a law on peaceful assembly is need.  Its opponents believe that the Constitution and European Court of Human Rights case law are enough for judges.  But they forget about “ordinary citizens”.  While rulings are passed in their interests, the right to peaceful assembly will not be defended. This can only be changed by a good liberal law which was stressed by ECHR judges. 

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