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Hungary: Court backs unionists over airport protest ban

Human rights judges ruled today that Hungary was wrong to ban a trade union demonstration scheduled to take place on the road to the capital’s international airport.

In the case United Civil Aviation Trade Union and Csorba v. Hungary (no. 27585/13) the European Court of Human Rights  found a violation of Article 11.

The court held that the finding of a violation constituted in itself sufficient just  satisfaction for the non-pecuniary damage sustained by the applicants. It further awarded them, jointly, EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses.

The case was brought by the United Civil Aviation Trade Union, a trade union registered in Budapest, and Attila Csorba, a Hungarian national who was born in 1970 and lives in Vecsés (Hungary). Csorba is the president of the United Civil Aviation Trade Union.

The applicants’ complained about the police banning a demonstration they had been planning to hold on the hard shoulder of a road leading to Budapest’s main international airport.

The union wanted to hold a two-hour demonstration of between 50 and 100 people in October 2012, in order to protest about planned salary cuts for airport workers. After a meeting with the organisers, the police decided to prohibit the demonstration on the grounds that it would create a danger for traffic and prevent access to the airport.

The police decision was subsequently upheld by a court.

Relying on Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention, the applicants complained that the ban on their demonstration had been a disproportionate interference with their rights.

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