Tag Archives: amnesty international

Amnesty: Botched execution underscores need for moratorium in U.S.

Amnesty International says the “botched” execution in Oklahoma on April 30 provides another stark reason why U.S. authorities should impose a moratorium on judicial killing and work to abolish the death penalty.

Witnesses have said that Clayton Lockett began to gasp and writhe after the first drugs were administered. About 16 minutes after the lethal injection process began, officials drew a curtain across the viewing window, preventing witnesses from seeing what was happening. Almost half an hour later, Lockett was pronounced dead of a heart attack.

A second execution scheduled for the same evening, of Charles Warner, was stayed. 

“What happened … to Clayton Lockett is shocking in anyone’s book. But this is far from the first ‘botched execution’ in the USA, whether by electrocution, asphyxiation, or lethal injection using the ‘traditional’ three-drug protocol,” said Rob Freer, Amnesty International researcher on the USA. He cited more than three dozen executions reported to have gone awry.

The sole U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, one of the drugs traditionally used in U.S. lethal injections, withdrew from the market in early 2011 and the European Commission tightened its regulations on the trade of such substances for use in capital punishment. As a result, the nation’s death penalty states have sought alternative sources for lethal injections drugs and have amended their execution protocols. 

“If the sort of tenacity shown by authorities pursuing the death penalty were to be turned to bringing their country into line with the global abolitionist trend, then we would see rapid progress on this fundamental human rights issue in the USA,” Freer said. “Instead, the ugly history of US executions has continued well into the 21st century even as country after country has stopped this practice.”

Lockett and Warner had unsuccessfully challenged an Oklahoma state law that blocks officials from revealing the identities of those involved in administering executions as well as of those who supply the drugs or equipment used.

Lockett, 38, was convicted of killing 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999. She was shot and buried alive. Lockett also was convicted of raping Neiman’s friend in the home invasion.

Warner, 46, was convicted of raping and killing 11-month-old Adrianna Waller in 1997. He lived with the child’s mother.

China jails man for 18 months for remembering Tiananmen Square

Amnesty International is calling on Chinese authorities to halt the persecution of people seeking to remember the victims of the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

The international human rights group issued the statement in response to the sentencing of a man to 18 months in jail for a remembrance last year and in anticipation of demonstrations to come as the anniversary of the June 4 massacre approaches.

A court in Changshu, in eastern China, found Gu Yimin guilty of inciting state subversion after he tried to post images of the crackdown online and applied to stage a protest on the 24th anniversary last year, according to Amnesty.

“Gu Yimin should be released immediately and unconditionally. Nearly 25 years on from the Tiananmen Square crackdown the authorities continue to stop at nothing to bury the truth of 1989,” said Anu Kultalahti, China researcher at Amnesty International.

Hundreds if not thousands, of protestors were killed or injured during the military crackdown against student protestors in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989. 

“As the 25th anniversary approaches, this could well mark the start of the annual round-up of activists attempting to remember the tragic events of 1989. Rather than ratchet up such persecution the authorities should acknowledge what really happened and deliver justice for the victims,” said Kultalahti.

The 1989 crackdown remains an official taboo in China. Attempts to commemorate, discuss and demand justice for what happened are forcefully curbed, with no public discussion allowed.

Video shows police allow dogs to attack man, Amnesty seeks investigation

The Papua New Guinea authorities must carry out an independent investigation into alleged brutality by a police dog squad, after a graphic video depicted a seemingly defenseless man being repeatedly attacked, said Amnesty International. 

In the film, which has been shared on social media, the man is seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by officers holding three leashed dogs as they lunge and attack him.

While the footage has not yet been verified, it raises serious concerns about torture and other ill-treatment by police, said Amnesty in a statement to the press. Amnesty spokeswoman Rosean Rife said, “This appalling incident raises serious questions about police brutality.

“The Papua New Guinea authorities must act on this shocking footage and immediately initiate an independent investigation. Torture is unacceptable under any circumstances and those responsible must be brought to justice. The seriousness of this incident is highlighted by this man’s humiliation and his screams of pain. It is difficult to watch.”

A marked police vehicle and officers in uniforms are clearly visible in the video.

At the end of the film, the man manages to escape and runs off into the distance.

“It is unknown what injuries the man sustained, if he received any medical treatment after the ordeal, or if he was subsequently taken into custody,” Rife added.

The organization is calling for public assurances and actions to back it up by the Papua New Guinea government that torture and other ill-treatment by military, police or prison officers will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

On the Web: The video, with a warning about the images, is here.

Kerry: Signing of anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda is tragic

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

Amnesty International, the global human rights group, called the measure “a draconian and damaging piece of legislation.”

“This deeply offensive piece of legislation is an affront to the human rights of all Ugandans and should never have got this far,” said Michelle Kagari, Africa deputy director at Amnesty International. “This legislation will institutionalize hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Its passage into law signals a very grave episode in the nation’s history.”

Kagari added, “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will further criminalize consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, with some offences carrying life imprisonment. It also includes offences such as ‘promotion of homosexuality’, which will directly impact human rights defenders and healthcare providers. It makes a mockery of the rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.”

Human rights activists have condemned passage of the bill, as have a number of political leaders, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The White House press secretary, in a statement released on Feb. 24, said, “Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality. As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.”

Kerry, in a statement released from the White House, said, “This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law. The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution.”

The secretary of state called the signing of the bill a “dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.”

He also said, “We are also deeply concerned about the law’s potential to set back public health efforts in Uganda, including those to address HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective.”

Activists stage global day of action against anti-gay measure in Uganda

Thousands of activists are acting together today (Feb. 10) in solidarity with campaigners in Uganda to show their opposition to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. They are calling on the president to veto the measure.

“If this deeply discriminatory bill is passed it will legalize the persecution of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Since the bill was proposed there’s been an increase in homophobic arrests and mob violence. This is turning into a witch-hunt. President Museveni must veto the bill before the situation worsens,” said Gemma Houldey of Amnesty International.

The Global Day of Action was organized by Ugandan civil society groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex activists. 

People around the world, including civil society groups in Europe and the United States, are showing solidarity through protests, petitions and action on social media demanding that Museveni vetoes the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in its entirety. 

The bill was passed by the Ugandan Parliament in December 2013. The president only has until Feb. 23 to veto or amend the bill to stop it becoming law.

Since the bill was passed, Ugandan civil society groups have documented at least seven arrests of LGBT people. Two were required to have anal examinations to “prove” they are engaging in same-sex sexual activity. These examinations are tantamount to torture and scientifically invalid, an Amnesty statement said.

Ugandan civil society organizations report that anal examinations are becoming a routine procedure for men arrested on suspicion of engaging in sex with other men. LGBTI people are also increasingly being harassed and some individuals have been attacked by mobs.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill would increase the number of criminal offences related to same-sex sexual activity and violates Uganda’s own constitution.

The maximum penalty for engaging in same-sex sexual activity remains life  imprisonment. The death penalty for aggravated homosexuality has been removed. 

People working on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes and LGBTI rights would face criminal charges and jail terms for promoting homosexuality

“The bill would not only criminalize LGBTI people, it would have a devastating effect on healthcare professionals and human rights activists.  It is effectively state sanctioned homophobia,” said Clare Byarugaba, a Ugandan LGBTI rights activist. “Now is the time to stand in solidarity with LGBTI people in Uganda. President Museveni must reject this bill and recognize that human rights are for all Ugandans.” 

Amnesty International urges end to anti-gay arrests in Nigeria

Amnesty International on Jan. 15 called on the Nigerian government to release the more than 10 people arrested under a new law that the group said “runs roughshod over a range of human rights and discriminates based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

The arrests were made in several Nigerian states, including Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Oyo states after President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act into law.

“Those arrested under this draconian new legislation must be released immediately and the charges against them dropped. Locking someone up for their sexual orientation violates the most basic human rights standards,” said Makmid Kamara, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, in a news release. “Reports that the police in one state are apparently drawing up lists of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community to target are extremely worrying.” 

This law is a throwback to the worst of the military rule-era when a range of human rights were treated with contempt, said Amnesty.

Those arrested under the new law included five allegedly gay men who were taken into custody in in Ibadan, Oyo state. In the southeastern city of Awka, Anambra state, six persons were reportedly arrested and detained by the police.

Human rights defenders told Amnesty International that the arrests and intimidation of LGBTI people in Nigeria is expanding across the country. 

Human rights defenders also told Amnesty International that police in northern Bauchi state have drawn up a list of 167 people targeted for arrest based on their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 

An assistant commissioner of police in Bauchi confirmed to Amnesty that the police have a list of suspected LGBTI people in Bauchi as part of their “profiling of criminals,” He told the human rights group, “The police have a list of suspected gay people under surveillance. We use the list to conduct our surveillance but the names on the list are not up to 167. We also use it to find out who their victims are.” 

Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to stop all further arrests. 

The law criminalizes freedom of speech, association, and assembly and it criminalizes the activities of many human rights and civil society organizations. It provides for a ten year prison sentence for anyone who supports, meets with, or forms a group advocating for human rights for LGBTI people.

Gay ‘prisoner of conscience’ dies in Cameroon

A gay man in Cameroon who was jailed for sending a text message to another man saying “I’m very much in love with you,” and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, has died, according to a lawyer who worked on his case.

Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, 34, died Friday roughly one month after his family removed him from the hospital where he had been seeking treatment for a hernia, lawyer Alice Nkom said.

“His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die,” she said.

Mbede was arrested in March 2011 in connection with the text message and convicted the following month under a Cameroonian law that imposes up to five years in prison for homosexual acts. He received a three-year sentence.

Cameroon brings more cases against suspected gays than any other African country, according to Human Rights Watch. The rights group said in a March 2013 report that at least 28 people had been charged under the law in the past three years.

Mbede developed the hernia while in prison. In July 2012, he was granted provisional release on medical grounds, according to Human Rights Watch, and went into hiding. An appeals court upheld his conviction in December 2012.

“I accuse the state,” said Nkom, the most prominent of a small group of lawyers in Cameroon willing to defend suspects charged with violating Cameroon’s anti-gay law. “If there had not been criminalization of homosexuality, he would not have gone to prison and his life would not be over. His life was finished as soon as he went to prison.”

Cameroonian officials have been unapologetic about their enforcement of the anti-gay law, and have rejected recommendations from the U.N. Human Rights Council to protect sexual minorities from violence. Appearing before the council in September 2013, Anatole Nkou, Cameroon’s ambassador to Geneva, testified that a prominent gay rights activist found tortured and killed last year died because of his “personal life,” prompting outcry from international rights groups.

Lambert Lamba, a Cameroonian activist who works on behalf of sexual minorities, said Mbede had been out of the hospital for about one month prior to his death and had received no medical care during that time.

“His family said they were going to remove the homosexuality which is in him,” Lamba said. “I went to see him in his village. He could not stand up, he couldn’t speak.”

Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, called on Cameroonian police to investigate Mbede’s death in light of reports that he may have been barred from receiving medical treatment.

“Roger was a courageous man who became an accidental activist after he was arrested simply for expressing his love for another man,” Ghoshal said.

Alexandre Marcel, president of the French committee for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, condemned the family’s actions in a statement, saying they were a reminder that sexual minorities must fight prejudice at both the family and state levels in anti-gay countries around the world.

Also on Friday, six men in neighboring Gabon were released after being accused of taking part in a same-sex marriage ceremony last month. Officials who held them for one night decided not to bring charges against them after determining that no marriage had occurred, said prosecutor Sidonie Flore Ouwe.

Gabon is one of 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have not criminalized homosexual acts, according to Amnesty International. However, Ouwe said that a gay marriage ceremony would constitute obscenity and an affront to public order punishable by law.

Amnesty International: Child pregnant after rape must be allowed abortion

Amnesty International says an 11-year-old girl who was raped by her mother’s partner in Chile should be allowed all medical options, including an abortion.

Abortions, even for medical reasons and in the case of rape, have been illegal since Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. President Sebastian Pinera’s government opposes any easing of the ban.

The human rights group said on July 11 that “the Chilean State must provide” her with “all the psychological and medical support she needs,” and make all options available, “including safe abortion services.”

The girl who is 14 weeks pregnant was repeatedly raped over the course of two years by her mother’s partner. He has been arrested and has confessed to abusing the fifth grader.

The case has ignited a heated national debate over abortion in socially-conservative Chile.

Gays at heart of government whistleblowing

While Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was preparing for his trial at Fort Meade, Md., a woman declaring, “I am Bradley Manning,” marched outside the U.S. embassy in London. Another woman declaring, “I am Bradley Manning,” marched in Seoul and a man declaring, “I am Bradley Manning,” marched in Berlin.

The demonstrations in solidarity with Manning occurred in 24 cities on four continents on June 1, two days before the Army intelligence analyst went on trial in a military court.

Manning, arrested in 2007 while stationed in Iraq, is on trial for passing more than 700,000 classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks. If convicted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, Manning could be sentenced to life in prison.

The government claims the soldier revealed sensitive information about troop movement, code words and the identity of suspects that endangered lives and possibly reached the now-dead Osama bin Laden.

“This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then dumped that information onto the Internet into the hands of the enemy,” prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow said on the first day of the trial.

Manning’s defense team, however, maintains that damage from the leak was minimal.

And Manning’s supporters maintain the leaked information exposed war crimes, helped spur an end to the war in Iraq and fueled the Arab Spring.

The openly gay soldier’s arrest and prosecution have not been an issue for the nation’s largest LGBT groups. Searches for “Bradley Manning” on websites for the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, OutServe-SLDN or National Gay and Lesbian Task Force yield no statements, news releases or other references.

The ACLU and Amnesty International, however, have monitored the Manning case.

The ACLU maintains the government is overreaching with the charge of aiding the enemy. “The crux of the government’s case against Manning – that he leaked sensitive documents without authorization – in no way depends on branding him a traitor,” said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “In its zeal to throw the book at Manning, the government has so overreached that its ‘success’ would turn thousands of loyal soldiers into criminals.”

Amnesty, which has dispatched a monitor to Maryland for a trial that is expected to last until August, has said the government must allow Manning to use a public interest defense. “The court must allow Manning to explain in full his motives for releasing the information to WikiLeaks,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty director of research and crisis response. “Manning should have been allowed to explain how, in his opinion, the public interest in being made aware of the information he disclosed outweighed the government’s interest in keeping it confidential.”

Manning already has pleaded guilty to 10 charges after the judge ruled he could not argue he was acting in the public interest.

Out reporter scoops Snowden

In mid-June, with Manning on trial at Fort Meade, another big whistleblower story broke. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, 29, leaked to the press documents about a U.S. government spying operation to monitor Americans’ telephone and online communications.

Glenn Greenwald, the U.S. journalist who scooped the NSA surveillance story, writes for The Guardian in London and resides in Rio de Janeiro with his Brazilian husband because that country recognizes their marriage. Greenwald recently told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that U.S. government-sanctioned discrimination against gays fed his watchdog tenacity. “When you grow up with any kind of real challenge that forces you to evaluate your relationship to these conventions and things that you’re taught … you start to question what that system is,” he said. “Is it really valid in the way that it’s rejecting me or is it the system itself that is corrupted? I think that lends itself to a much more critical eye that you end up casting upon things that you’re taught are indisputably true.”

He’s applied this approach as he’s followed the Manning case, becoming one of the more prominent critics of the government’s prosecution. Greenwald’s focus on the conditions in which Manning was being detained led to an investigation by the U.N. high official on torture and denunciations from Amnesty International and the ACLU, which said that Manning’s treatment “in military custody is in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and serves no purpose other than to degrade, humiliate and traumatize him.”

Greenwald called Manning a “whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives” and “a national hero similar to Daniel Ellsberg.”

The famed Ellsberg supported the Vietnam War until he began working on the secret Defense Department study that became known as the Pentagon Papers, which showed that the U.S. government repeatedly misled citizens about the war. He photocopied the 7,000-page study and provided it to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1970 and then provided the papers to The New York Times and other newspapers in 1971. 

The Nixon administration lost its campaign to block the Times from publishing the papers in an epic First Amendment fight, and the 12 felony charges against Ellsberg were dropped in 1973 on the grounds of governmental misconduct against him – misconduct that played a role in the conviction of several White House aides and the impeachment of Richard Nixon, who sought to discredit the whistleblower by circulating rumors of his homosexuality.

Ellsberg also calls Manning a hero and said his trial is one of the “defining issues of the 21st century.”

No pride?

Ellsberg wanted to represent Manning in the San Francisco Pride Parade – before the organizers overturned a committee vote naming Manning the grand marshal.

Both Ellsberg and Greenwald criticized parade organizers for the veto, which was decried as authoritarian, cowardly and a sellout.

San Francisco’s Pride march is among the oldest in the world. Today it draws hundreds of thousands of people and is sponsored by more than a dozen companies, including Clear Channel, Wells Fargo, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Bank of America.

Earlier this year, there was an announcement that a committee of former San Francisco Pride grand marshals elected Manning to be their 2013 grand marshal.

The vote was hailed by some, denounced by others.

Two days later, San Francisco Pride president Lisa Williams issued a news release stating Manning was not a grand marshal, that his nomination was a “mistake” and that the Pride staffer who prematurely contacted Manning was “disciplined.” The statement said, “Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform – and countless others, military and civilian alike – will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.”

Manning’s advocates responded with newspaper op-eds and ads, as well as a complaint to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. The complaint stated, “Because of the extraordinary material he leaked, and because of the way the Pentagon has treated Manning, Manning has become an international cause celebre for human rights activists, the peace movement, LGBTQ veterans and countless academics, intellectuals, artists, scientists, diplomats, etc., who believe that Manning’s actions constitute courageous whistle blowing, and that the Pentagon’s treatment of Manning has amounted to torture under international law.”

The complaint, which was rejected, also said Manning opposed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” was twice nominated for a Nobel Peace prize and also was nominated by The Guardian’s readers for 2012 Person of the Year.

The information published by WikiLeaks revealed thousands of reports of prisoner torture filed against the Iraqi Security Forces, including whippings and sexual assaults. Also revealed was the existence of a 2004 order not to investigate abuse allegations, reports that U.S. defense contractors were complicit in child trafficking, that the U.S. government kept a tally of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan (although the Bush and Obama administration denied there was a count), and that Egypt’s notorious State Security Service received FBI training in Quantico, Va. Perhaps the best-known WikiLeaks release was the classified video in which soldiers in a U.S. Apache helicopter repeatedly ask permission to fire on civilians in New Baghdad and then joke about the 11 dead adults.

Defense attorney David Combs, in his opening statement at the trial, said Manning believed the information he provided WikiLeaks “showed how we valued human life. He was troubled by that. He believed that if the American public saw it, they too would be troubled.”

Some who signed the San Francisco ad, op-ed and complaint, such as Lt. Dan Choi, who was arrested at the White House for protesting the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, belong to a new generation of activists.

Progressive celebrities also have taken up the cause. More than 20 actors, authors, musicians and prominent activists – Oliver Stone, Russell Brand, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Moby, Roger Waters, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Choi – recently appeared in a 5-minute “I am Bradley Manning” video.

Following the controversy, San Francisco resident Eve Ann Greer said she’s attended 20 Pride parades but considered boycotting this year’s event. “The government’s mistreatment of Bradley Manning is absolutely wrong. But the community’s mistreatment really saddens me. We’ve come so far in equality for people but, my God, we’ve lost so much along the way,” Greer said.

Greer said she changed her mind about staying away and instead plans to parade on June 30 with a sign. It will read, “I am Bradley Manning.”

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Serbian police ban LGBT Pride parade

Serbia’s police have banned an LGBT Pride march in Belgrade, citing security concerns but also complying with a request from Serbia’s Christian Orthodox church.

Police said they were banning the march planned for Oct. 6 because they feared a repeat of the violence in 2010, when right-wing groups attacked a gay Pride event in Belgrade. That triggered day-long clashes with the police which left more than 100 people injured.

Last year’s gay Pride march also was banned by authorities.

The current ban was announced after Patriarch Irinej, the head of Serbia’s Christian Orthodox church, urged the government to prevent Saturday’s march. In a statement, he said such a “parade of shame” would cast a “moral shadow” on Serbia — a conservative Balkan country whose gay population has faced threats and harassment.

Allowing a gay Pride march this year had been regarded by some as a test of Serbia’s pledge to respect human rights as it seeks EU membership. That was clear in the reaction of European Parliament official Jelko Kacin, who called the ban a “political decision that questions the rule of law in Serbia.”

Secretary-General Thorbjoern Jagland of the Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights body, said he was “surprised and disappointed” that the Pride event has been banned again.

“Citizens should be able to exercise their rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” he said. “Serbia should be in a position to safeguard such an event, which is commonplace in modern democracies.”

Amnesty International said the ban puts Serbia in breach of its own laws.

“Serbia’s government is effectively going against its own legal and constitutional protections for basic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Serbia,” said John Dalhuisen, the group’s director for Europe and Central Asia.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said in addition to banning the Gay Pride march, the government was barring a gathering of right-wing groups that planned to attack the event. It also canceled several national league soccer matches in Belgrade on Saturday because they often are attended by hooligans aligned with the extremists.

“We believe that at this moment Serbia does not need clashes and victims, and that’s why we banned the gatherings,” said Dacic, who is also the national police chief.

Opposition politicians said the ban showed that authorities are unable to protect freedom and human rights in Serbia.

“No democratic society has the right to retreat from the threats of violence against basic rights,” said Liberal Party leader Cedomir Jovanovic.