Hesse: Hesse wants to rewrite the right of assembly

According to Interior Minister Beuth, when right-wing extremists want to intimidate other people at paramilitary events, the right to assemble is being abused.

Hesse: Hesse wants to rewrite the right of assembly

According to Interior Minister Beuth, when right-wing extremists want to intimidate other people at paramilitary events, the right to assemble is being abused. In the amendment to the Freedom of Assembly Act, clear boundaries are to be drawn with a ban on militancy.

Wiesbaden (dpa/lhe) - According to Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU), a newly drafted Hessian right of assembly should promote a peaceful demonstration culture. With the planned Hessian Freedom of Assembly Act, in particular, the highest court decisions of the past decades will be implemented, he explained on Tuesday in the state parliament in Wiesbaden. Freedom of assembly is indispensable for democratic decision-making.

"At the same time, however, it is also necessary to show radicals and violent criminals limits in this context," emphasized Beuth. It is therefore important to develop protective mechanisms against the targeted abuse of the right of assembly. According to the draft law, the ban or dissolution of the assembly should only be permissible if public safety is directly endangered.

However, restrictions to protect public order should be possible, the minister explained with a view to right-wing extremist gatherings and elevators. "In practice, these often show a dangerous similarity to the ideas of the National Socialist regime of violence and despotism," said Beuth. Such gatherings wanted to "intimidate and downplay the unjust regime of the Third Reich or its leading representatives".

A new ban on militancy should prevent paramilitary events and gatherings that give the impression of a willingness to use violence, the minister explained. The so-called uniform ban, which should be retained in principle, also serves to do this. However, only those uniforms that are intended to intimidate would be recorded.

The legal policy spokesman for the left faction, Ulrich Wilken, criticized that the state government had "screwed up" the draft law. He called for a regulation that invites people to gather instead of discouraging them. "Since there must be absolutely necessary restrictions, these must be regulated clearly and conclusively," said Wilken. However, the draft law reflects the authorities' attitude towards assemblies, which is characterized by distrust and suspicion of danger.

The domestic policy spokeswoman for the SPD parliamentary group, Heike Hofmann, called it "high time" to introduce a state law on the right of assembly in Hesse. She pointed out that legislative competence for the right of assembly had already passed from the federal government to the states in 2006.

According to AfD MP Dirk Gaw, on the one hand, the right to assembly must prevent "every assembly being understood per se as an attack on the rule of law". On the other hand, however, consistent action must be taken against disruptors who obstruct peaceful assemblies or use them for their own purposes.

"The present draft is a good first draft, but urgent current issues are not regulated in it," said the FDP interior expert Stefan Müller. "Demonstrations on freeways, but also abseiling actions from freeway bridges must be stopped. They represent a danger to life and limb that is not responsible."

The CDU MP Alexander Bauer pointed out that meetings must be peaceful and unarmed. "These weapons also include weapons in a non-technical sense. For example, iron bars, attack dogs or hatchets or maybe umbrellas in bright sunshine," said Bauer. In addition, it is a "sad and long-standing experience" of the police that masks lower the threshold for violence. With the new law, these should therefore not only be banned at the demonstration itself, but also on the way there.

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