Venezuela: Supreme Court Outlaws Spontaneous Protests as “Not an Absolute Right”


EspañolPeaceful protests in Venezuela will from now on require express authorization from the mayor or the governor of the jurisdiction where they are carried out. The Supreme Court (TSJ) made this decision yesterday, declaring that the right to protest “is not an absolute right.” Police forces will now be legally allowed to disperse people who shut down a street to voice their complaints. Also, the gttorney General will be allowed to prosecute unauthorized protestors for disobedience.

The TSJ considered it imperative to “guarantee the right to free movement,” which would justify dispersing any unauthorized congregation. According to the ruling, written by Judge Arcadio Delgado, local police forces have “an obligation to cooperate with the rest of the security forces in maintaining public order during the illegal exercise of the right to protest.”

In addition to authorizing protests, mayors, governors, and district heads have the authority to modify citizens’ requests. The ruling states that “the first civil authority of the jurisdiction — where the concentration, demonstration, or public meeting is requested — is not limited to the terms on which the application is made, being able not only to deny the authorization, but also to modify its location and the chosen itinerary (day and time), whenever the authorization proceeds.”

This ruling comes days after student leaders agreed to march to the center of Caracas, regardless of whether Mayor Jorge Rodríguez authorizes it or not.

Source: El Universal.

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