Social protest is a fundamental right for defending other rights. Many of today’s demands for rights and liberties are the consequence of past struggles and triumphs achieved in the streets. Nevertheless, Latin American states continue to repeat practices to restrict protests, stop them or criminalize them. This publication documents and analyzes these state responses in eight countries of the region through collaborative work done by ten human rights organizations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
The characteristics common to all countries analyzed include violent state responses, the criminalization of militants and activists, public policies that seek to limit or restrict protests and demonstrations, and the impunity of human rights violations, with different degrees of severity. This regional survey shows historical patterns that persist – including the abusive use of force and criminalization – and new trends, such as regulations to limit protests. In the same period, some experiences show the will to develop democratic mechanisms for managing conflicts; however, in many cases these mechanisms have been met with difficulties, preventing them from becoming public policy with any continuity.
Legal and administrative restrictions
Repression and the use of force
Criminalization of protest
Impunity of police violence
Transforming state responses