Shutting protests to curb COVID unconstitutional – CPA
By Faadhila Thassim
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) observed that the State’s response in curtailing the right to peaceful protests amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has not been in accordance with the Constitution.
CPA said the increasing trend of suppressing protests under the pretext of curbing the spread of COVID-19 is deeply concerning and must be stopped while respecting the right of people to protest.
While noting the need to take health precautions, the pandemic should not be made an excuse to deny freedom and democratic principles, CPA said.
“This right is vital for the healthy functioning of democracy and while it is recognised that the right to protest can be subjected to certain limitations, it is equally important to ensure that these limitations are not the results of ad-hoc and arbitrary measures contrary to the rule of law and the equal protection of the law as guaranteed by Article 12 of the Constitution,” CPA emphasised.
CPA added that consistent concerns have been raised in regard to COVID-19 related restrictions and despite the questionable legality, a considerable number of arrests have been made due to alleged violations.