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Berkman v. Russia, No. 46712/15, ECtHR (Third Section), 1 December 2020


The police failed to ensure the peaceful conduct of a demonstration in favour of the rights of the LGBTI community, in violation of the positive obligations of the State.

Normative references

Art. 14 ECHR
Art. 8 ECHR
Art. 11 ECHR


1.  Participants in a demonstration have the right to demonstrate without having to fear physical violence from their opponents. True and effective freedom of peaceful assembly cannot therefore be reduced to a simple duty on the part of the state not to interfere.

2. The State's compliance with its positive obligations must be assessed in the light of the object of the event. Those obligations had been of paramount importance in the present case, because the applicant, as well as the other participants in the "Coming Out Day", belonged to a particularly vulnerable (LGBTI) minority.
(The applicant had attempted to participate in a public meeting to celebrate "Coming Out Day" (an annual day of awareness-raising on LGBTI issues), which was interrupted by some counter-demonstrators. During the clashes, the applicant was arrested, removed from the venue and detained at a police station for four hours).