Law of 1956 on the organization of public meetings and demonstrations

Law on the organisation of public meetings and demonstrations issued on 25 Rabi’ Al-Awwal 1376 AH, corresponding to 30 October 1956 AD

Article (1)

Public and Private Meetings

  1. Individuals shall have the right to assemble in peace and quiet. No policeman may attend the meeting and they shall not have to inform the police.
  2. Public meetings shall be free within the limits of the regulations and provisions of this decree.
  3. In the application of the provisions of this decree, public meetings shall refer to any meeting held to talk about a general subject, and people may and can participate in it without permission or personal invitation, whether held in a public or private place.

Article (2)

Requirement to Give Notice

  1. Anyone who wishes to organise a public meeting shall notify the district administrator in writing, at least forty-eight hours prior to the meeting.
  2. This period shall be reduced to twelve hours in the case of electoral meetings.
  3. In the application of the provisions of this decree, electoral meetings shall refer to any meeting held in the period between the date of the announcement of the elections and the day scheduled to hold them, with the purpose of campaigning for candidates for the National Assembly or legislative or municipal councils, or with purpose of listening to their speeches or statements.

Article (3)

Notification Statements

Notification shall be by at least two persons and shall include the time and place of the meeting and its purpose, and must be signed by the persons who wish to organise the meeting.

The latter shall enjoy their civil and political rights and each signatory shall mention his name, capacity, profession, address, and his elected domicile in the region where the meeting will be held, even if he does not reside there.

In the case of electoral meetings, the notification may be made by one person.

Article (4)

Prohibition

  1. The authorities referred to in Article (2) may not prohibit the holding of public meetings unless they would disturb security and public order.
  2. The prohibition decision shall be notified to the organisers of the meeting or to one of them in his elected domicile as rapidly as possible and at least twelve hours prior to the time scheduled for the meeting. A copy of such decision shall be put on the outside door of the authority that issued it and shall be published in local newspapers if possible.
  3. Meeting organisers may submit a complaint with regards to the prohibition decision to the Minister of Interior.
  4. Holding electoral meetings may not be prohibited in any case.

Article (5)

Meeting Organisation Committee

The meeting shall have a committee comprised of at least a chairman and two members. The committee shall maintain order and prevent any violation of laws. It shall also maintain the meeting’s character as set forth in the notification and ban any speech that violates public order or morals or includes incitement to crime.

In the event the meeting organisers do not select a committee, it shall be considered as comprised of the signatories of the notification.

Article (6)

Police Attendance and Meeting Dispersal

  1. Policemen may attend the meeting, provided they take a place far from the speaker during the meeting.
  2. Policemen may disperse the meeting in the event the committee asks them to or if the meeting witnesses severe disorder that affects or seriously threatens security or public order.
  3. Public meetings may not extend beyond 11:00 p.m. in any case whatsoever, except with special permission from the police.

Article (7)

Demonstrations and Processions

The provisions of Article (1), Paragraph (2); Article (2), Paragraph (1); Article (3); Article (4), Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3); Article (5); and Article (6), Paragraph (2) shall apply to all demonstrations and processions held in the street or in public squares. The provisions relating to notification and formation of a committee shall not apply to religious processions and gatherings that conform with local customs.

Article (8)

Determination of the Traffic Plan

In all cases, the authorities referred to in Article (2) shall determine the path of the procession or demonstration, provided they notify the organisers of such as per the provisions of Article (4).

Article (9)

Attendance of Policemen

Policemen may attend the procession or demonstration and may choose their own locations.

Article (10)

Timing of Demonstrations and Processions

Processions and demonstrations may not be held or continued before sunrise or after sunset, except with special permission from the police. Religious processions and gatherings that conform with local customs shall be exempt from this.

Article (11)

Penalties for Violating the Provisions Concerning Meetings

Organisers, initiators, and meeting committee members for public meetings held without notice or held despite a prohibition order shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of two months and to a fine not exceeding twenty Libyan pounds, or either of the two.

Anyone who participates in a public meeting held without notice or despite a prohibition order, despite warnings from the police, or disobeys an order to disperse shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of one month and to a fine not exceeding ten Libyan pounds, or either of the two.

The penalty shall double if the act is committed by a person carrying a weapon, even if he is licensed to carry it.

Article (12)

Penalties for Violating the Provisions Concerning Demonstrations and Processions

  1. Organisers, initiators, and members of demonstrations and processions of public meetings held without notice or despite a prohibition order shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of two months and to a fine not exceeding twenty Libyan pounds, or either of the two.
  2. Anyone who participates in demonstrations and processions held without notice or despite a prohibition order, despite warnings from the police, or disobeys an order to disperse shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of one month and to a fine not exceeding ten Libyan pounds, or either of the two.
  3. The penalty shall double if the act is committed by a person carrying a weapon, even if he is licensed to carry it.

Article (13)

Carrying Weapons

Anyone who participates in public meetings, demonstrations, or processions in cases other than the ones provided for in Articles (11) and (12) while carrying a weapon, even if he is licensed to carry it, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of three months and to a fine not exceeding twenty Libyan pounds, or either of the two.

Article (14)

Assemblies that Undermine Security

If ten or more persons gather and their assembly threatens public security and policemen order gatherers to disperse, anyone who is notified and disobeys the order shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of two months and to a fine not exceeding ten Libyan pounds, or either of the two. The penalty shall double in the case of gatherers carrying a weapon.

Article (15)

Assemblies with Illicit Purpose

If ten or more persons gather with the purpose of committing a crime, prohibiting or hindering the implementation of laws and regulations, influencing the acts of authorities, or depriving someone from his freedom to work whether by influence or deprivation by use of force or threat to use force, anyone who participates in the gathering knowing its purpose or who learns of its purpose and does not leave it shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of three months and to a fine not exceeding fifty Libyan pounds, or either of the two.

The penalty shall double in the case of gatherers carrying a weapon.

Article (16)

Other Violations

Any other violation of the provisions of this decree shall be punished with a fine not exceeding ten Libyan pounds.

Article (17)

Without Prejudice to More Severe Penalties

The provisions of this decree shall be without prejudice to the imposition of any more severe penalty  stipulated by the Penal Code or other laws.

Article (18)

Repeal

Law No. (16) of 1951 on unrest in Cyrenaica and Publication No. (164) on public demonstrations in Cyrenaica shall be repealed. The provisions of the Discipline Law issued on 6 July 1933 in Tripoli and Cyrenaica contrary to the provisions of this decree shall also be repealed.

Article (19)

Implementation and Entry into Force

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice shall implement this decree and it shall enter into force from its date of publication in the Official Gazette.

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