Court stands up for protester against LGBT march

The Czech Constitutional Court upheld the complaint of a woman who wanted to protest against Prague Pride in 2014, but the police did not allow her to go near the parade route.

According to the Czech Constitutional Court, the verbal expression of disagreement with a particular assembly is part of the freedom of expression established in the Constitution. The Constitutional Court judges explained that even though the police have the right to order someone not to enter a particular place, the command must either respond to the individual's actions, or there must be reasonable suspicion that he or she intends to use violence to disturb an otherwise peaceful assembly.

In the presented case, the police had indications that right-wing radicals wanted to disrupt Prague Pride, but apparently, that was not enough to forbid access to the parade to the complainant. The woman, who filled in the complaint, then unsuccessfully appealed for 20,000 CZK to compensate for non-material damage caused by incorrect official procedures.

Prague Pride is an event to support sexual minorities. In 2014, the police wanted to prevent potential conflicts surrounding the parade, so it did not allow several people to approach the Prague Pride march, including the complainant. However, the District Court in Prague dismissed her lawsuit because the police officers only aimed to maintain public order and prevent violence.

The Municipal Court in Prague then confirmed the verdict. It pointed out that in similar cases, the police have a duty to protect public order. The woman may have expressed her disagreement with the parade differently or somewhere else than directly on the route.

In the Constitutional complaint, the woman said she had no intention to act violently. She described the police intervention inadmissible since it violated her right to freedom of expression. Now, the Municipal Court in Prague is about to debate her complaint again.

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