Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-046"

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"Freedom of speech and of assembly are fundamental civil rights. We cannot call a country a true democracy if the authorities allow the police to use force, ban demonstrations against the authorities, and seek to break up the assemblies of peaceful protesters in order to silence views they do not like. Labelling peaceful protesters as extremists, and the police using force against demonstrators are unacceptable in a country that calls itself a democracy. I protest against what took place in Russia last week. It is all the more important to recall the police brutality in Moscow and St Petersburg because these incidents occurred in a country in which Communist dictatorship ended only a decade and a half ago. We need to remind Russia and its current leaders that we can only consider them to be a true partner to the EU and a state governed by the rule of law if they respect civil liberties. There can be no way back to dictatorship. But we need to know as well that the critique of the European Union will be credible only if we also systematically demand that our own countries unfailingly respect civil liberties. We cannot use two measuring rods: one for ourselves and one for others."@en1

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