Direct accusations of violation of the basic freedoms of citizens and violation of the Constitution by the government under the pretext of the alleged “measures against the coronavirus” are addressed by the country’s top institutional union, the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (ENDE) regarding the decision of the Police Headquarters to ban the gatherings of four people and more throughout the country on the occasion of the anniversary of the Polytechnic, but without mentioning that this ban is broader and permanent!
ENDE accuses Government of Totalitarianism!
In a statement, ENDE states that this decision contradicts Article 11 of the Constitution, emphasizing that “the State must protect public health in the conditions of the pandemic, without exceeding the limits of the rule of law”, and calls for its revocation.
The entire “whip-announcement”:
“Constitution and ban on rallies
With the decision number 1029/8/18 (Government Gazette 5046 B ‘/ 14-11-2020) of the Chief of the Hellenic Police, it was decided to ban all public outdoor gatherings in the whole of Greece for the period from November 15 at 06.00’ until 18 November 2020 at 21.00 ‘, in which 4 or more people participate, with the threat of sanctions.
Article 11 par. 2 of the Constitution stipulates that “outdoor gatherings may be prohibited by a reasoned decision of the police authority in general if they pose a serious threat to public safety…”.
The general prohibition does not cease to concern a specific gathering which has been announced for a certain place and time with one or another content.
It can not be extended to a ban on any other gathering in an entire geographical area (e.g. in a Prefecture or much more throughout the Territory) because this would be tantamount to suspending the force of Article 11 of the Constitution, something that only in the exceptional circumstances of Article 48 of the Constitution (situation of siege) can occur (Svolou / Vlachou, The Constitution of Greece, B ‘, 1955, 228 and in K. Chrysogonos, Individual and Social Rights, published in 2006, 489).
The interpretative statement of article 5 of the Constitution, which is invoked by the decision of the Chief of the Hellenic Police, concerns the taking of individual administrative measures to restrict free movement (e.g. quarantine of a specific citizen) and finds no application in mass outdoor gatherings for provided for solely in Article 11.
In addition, it should be emphasized that for the gatherings on the anniversary of the Polytechnic as well as on May Day, according to article 3 par. 3 of Presidential Decree 73/2020 issued to regulate specific issues of law 4703/2020, no notification is due to the Authorities.
The State must protect public health in the face of a pandemic, without exceeding the limits of the rule of law. The Union of Judges and Prosecutors considers that the commented decision for a general ban on gatherings throughout Greece is outside the Constitutional framework and should be immediately revoked “.