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Friday, May 20, 2022

Marches and state of emergency: Is an authorization needed as the Minister says?

Two situations that have occurred this week in national politics have motivated the call for a massive march tomorrow in downtown Lima: the approval in the Congress of a law that weakens Sunedu and damages the university reform and the appointment of the new cabinet chaired by Hector Valerwho has up to 15 complaints, including for family violence.

LOOK: Insecurity in Lima: Why do experts describe the state of emergency as useless and dangerous?

The meeting point will be at 5 pm in Plaza San Martín, from where the demonstrators will try to move towards the Government Palace and the Congress of the Republic.

In response to the call, the new general commander of the PNP, Vicente Tiburcio, has indicated that the social mobilization does not have “authorization” because no one has submitted any request to the Directorate of Special Authorizations and Guarantees of the General Directorate of Internal Government (DGIN) of the Ministry of the Interior, the entity in charge of providing guarantees for massive events. The same has been said by the Minister of the Interior, Alfonso Chávarry, who is also facing charges for abuse of authority, about the need for the march to have “Excuse me” for it to develop.

Is this true?

El Comercio consulted with three specialists in constitutional law who recalled that the unarmed peaceful assembly It is a right contemplated in article 2, paragraph 12 of the Political Constitution of Peru that does not need authorization.

What the Magna Carta does mention, explains the constitutional lawyer Omar Cairo, is a “advance announcement” to the authorities, which does not imply the need for a permit. “Meetings in places open to the public do not require authorization, that is in the Constitution. What is required is to announce to the authority and this it can prohibit it only for proven reasons of safety and public health. That would have to be in a substantiated resolution and clearly explaining what proven reasons prevent the march “ he told this newspaper.

Government made official the supreme decree declaring a state of emergency in Metropolitan Lima and in the Constitutional Province of Callao due to the crime wave. (Photos: Gonzalo Cordova/GEC)

The same is reiterated by Percy Castillo, deputy for Human Rights of the Ombudsman’s Office, who emphasizes that the duty of the police is to safeguard the rights of all citizens at any time. Even without prior announcement, it has to ensure, for example, that the necessary detours are developed to avoid traffic congestion.

“There is a very serious error of interpretation by the Minister of the Interior about the Constitution because it does not speak of authorization but of notice. There is quite clear jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court on the subject. If the citizens are summoned and do not have a visible organization or have multiple addresses and no one makes the notice, the police still have to facilitate movement to avoid affecting other rights such as free transit “he maintains.

Does this change with the state of emergency? Last Wednesday, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, with Héctor Valer at the head, decreed state of emergency for Metropolitan Lima and Callao for 45 days for the purpose of combating citizen insecurity. The norm establishes that the constitutional rights related to the inviolability of the home, freedom of transit in the national territory, freedom of assembly and personal freedom and security are suspended.

Lima and Callao: What does it mean, when is it declared and for how long is it extended?
The Council of Ministers approved the declaration of a state of emergency in Lima and Callao for a period of 45 days, reported Defense Minister José Luis Gavidia. Know all the details in this video.

Although these rights are suspended, Cairo clarifies that this Doesn’t mean they’re removed. “We still have the rights, but their protection is restricted. It means that if the authorities in charge of public order affect these rights, a petition for habeas corpus will be inadmissible, as long as the limitation is related to the cause of the state of emergency”, precise.

As it is a state of emergency justified by the high rate of crime and criminal organizations in Lima and Callao, the restriction of rights should be linked to that issue.

Castillo recalls that since 2020, when massive mobilizations were carried out against the Manuel Merino regime, the Ombudsman had indicated that A state of emergency, whether due to the covid-19 pandemic or security, does not limit the development of a peaceful protest.

In any case, the constitutionalist Alejandro Rospigliosi considers that there is a risk of arrests by the police or the Armed Forces in the context of an emergency, which is why citizen vigilance is required to avoid possible excesses.

“The reason for the protests is absolutely legitimate and reasonable, but the government has declared a state of emergency. What does freedom of assembly and movement have to do with fighting criminality and citizen insecurity? There is no connection and that reveals that the bottom line is to avoid protests. There are reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that in Latin America the state of emergency is used as a pretext to abuse citizens and detain them everywhere. That can not be allowed”, he emphasized.

Until the closing of this note, only the commander of the National Police confirmed himself and said that when he spoke of authorization he was referring to “coordination” for the march.

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