The Right2Know Campaign is proud to produce a new edition of the Activist Guide to the Right to Protest. This is the 2nd edition of R2K’s booklet, which was in turn a reproduction of material produced by the Anti-Privatisation Forum in 2007.
For many people across South Africa, the right to protest — and associated rights like freedom of expression — are under threat. Police and other government officials manipulate the Regulation of Gatherings Act to find reasons to shut down protests and make it even harder for activists to organise and participate in protests lawfully. Police brutality at protests continues to be a major problem for many communities across the country. There is a public panic about the phenomenon of ‘violent protests’ which ignores that the vast majority of protests in South Africa are peaceful, and that one of the major driving factors of civil unrest in protests is the actions taken by officials to clamp down on dissent.
- Section 1 of this booklet provides basic information about the main law affecting the right to protest, the Regulation of Gatherings Act. It explains the legal definition of a “gathering” and the legal rights and duties of the organisers, and explains that in terms of the law, you are required to give notice of a planned gathering – which is different from “asking permission”. You do not need to ask permission to have a protest.
- Section 2 is a new addition to the booklet, focusing on police brutality and the rules and regulations that govern the police at protests.
- Section 3 gives a basic explanation of court processes that may follow an arrest and what to do in those situations.
- Section 4 gives general advice on protecting the right to protest, learning from the lessons of other activist movements, and some useful contacts for further information.
Knowledge is power! Take this booklet with you and use it in your struggle for social, economic and environmental justice.
This booklet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. (CC BY-SA 4.0).