On 24 March 2021, PILP-NJCM started an appeal on behalf of Code Rood against the decision of the Chairman of the Safety Region Haaglanden about limiting the number of participants in a protest organised by Code Rood.
With the protest on 19 May 2020, Code Rood wanted to draw attention with as many people as possible to the need to hold Shell responsible for climate change and human rights violations. Because of COVID-19 they chose to come to the protest with only 100 people, to keep one and a half meters distance and to take hygiene precautions.
On the square in front of Shell headquarters there was room for 300 people at one and a half meter distance.
Yet the Chairman of the Safety Region Haaglanden (‘Chairman’) decided that because of COVID-19 only 30 people were allowed to participate in the protest. According to Code Rood and the PILP-NJCM, this imposed restriction is neither necessary nor proportional. As such, the restriction constitutes an unauthorised violation of the right to protest.
Unfortunately, we lost the earlier appeal process regarding the imposed restriction. The Chairman’s new decision did not take into account the advancing knowledge on COVID-19 and thus did not fully reconsider the decision. Also, most of our (human rights) arguments were not or not sufficiently addressed. Therefore, Code Rood and the PILP-NJCM have decided to go into appeal [in Dutch].
Restrictions may be imposed on a protest, but only if they are based on the law and human rights and if they are necessary and proportionate. It is in the interest of protecting the right to protest that there is clarity on whether and when a restriction on the number of protesters at a protest is necessary and proportionate, especially now that it is uncertain how long the COVID-19 measures will remain in place.
Read more about our case and other cases on the right to protest here.