Participants in the demonstrations for a ceasefire in the Middle East and in support of the Palestinians filed an administrative lawsuit against the Prague City Hall on Tuesday, November 21.
Last Wednesday, before the evening demonstration, the representative of the municipality informed the organizers that if the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is used, i.e. “From the river (Jordan) to the (Levant) sea, Palestine will be free”, they will dissolve the event.
The lawsuit was filed jointly by two people – Tereza Rodham as the organizer of the demonstration and lawyer Albert Kayed, who participated in it as a private person.
“The lawsuit is being brought to protect against illegal interference according to the administrative court code, when the defendant abridged the plaintiff’s basic rights and freedoms, namely freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” Zdeněk Jehlička from the initiative “Not in our name!” told Seznam Zprávám. – Initiative for a Just Peace in the Middle East”, which organized the demonstration.
At the same time, the municipality proceeded according to the Ministry of the Interior.
Limiting freedom of speech, say activists
The resort led by Vít Rakušan (STAN) issued a press release last week that using a password can be a criminal offense in certain situations. The announcement itself was preceded by a debate between representatives of the interior, the police, the Supreme State Attorney’s Office and the Prague municipality.
“The conclusion of the discussion is that the use of the slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ in the context of the attack by Hamas against Israel on October 7, 2023 is problematic and could fulfill the characteristics of a criminal act,” explained ministry spokeswoman Klára Dlubalová.
Organizers of the demonstrations claim that the slogan has no violent undertones. “It is illegal to ban that password. It’s a restriction of freedom of speech, they want to punish us for something we don’t say,” Jana Ridvanová from the initiative Not in our name! told Seznam Zprávám afterwards. – Initiative for a Just Peace in the Middle East.