International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

Protest Rights
and Policing

INCLO member organizations believe that the fundamental rights to protest and express opinions in public is critical to a functional democracy. Additionally, the role of the state is to protect and promote the rights to protest and enable people to voice their concerns freely and safely.

However, in many countries around the world, policing and security institutions often resort to the excessive use of force to disperse crowds, states introduce restrictive laws and endorse practices that curtail people’s ability to protest and express dissent, while protesters and social leaders are frequently persecuted and subject to human rights violations.

INCLO brings together a global network of human rights defenders and public interest lawyers from our member organizations to conduct research and advocate against repressive responses by policing and security institutions to social protests and human rights activism. Together we develop standards for the free exercise of the rights to protest at the regional and international levels.


  1. To research, educate, and litigate repressive responses to protests by states and their policing and security institutions.
  2. To advocate for policies and international standards that protect and promote our rights to protest and promote the proper management of assemblies.


  1. Defending Dissent: Towards State Practices that Protect and Promote the Rights to Protest, June 2018.

    Our report identifies policing principles and practices that governments need to adopt to protect and promote human rights in the context of protests. The publication relies on a review of protest-related literature, 44 case studies from INCLO jurisdictions, interviews with policing experts in different countries and the expertise of INCLO member organizations.

  2. Lethal in Disguise: The Health Consequences of Crowd-Control Weapons, 2016

    As a seminal piece of research on CCWs, this report brings to light a wealth of new information about CCWs and their detrimental effects on health and wellbeing, as well as on exercising the rights to protest and peaceful assembly.

  3. Take Back the Streets: Repression and Criminalization of Protest around the World, 2013

    Our first report showcases contemporary examples of repressive responses by states and their policing and security institutions to activism and protest resulting in injury, death, and the criminalization of protest leaders. The case studies highlighted were brought forward by our member organizations, focusing on INCLO jurisdictions.