Right of assembly
You can find all the latest information on the subject of assemblies here:

Would you like to register an open-air assembly? You can find all the essential information here:

Assemblies in the open air

A fundamental pillar of our democracy is the right to freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully and without weapons in the open air. This right is enshrined in the Basic Law (Art. 8 Basic Law). An assembly within the meaning of Article 8 of the Basic Law exists if at least three people come together for a joint discussion or demonstration aimed at participating in the formation of public opinion. Information stands with a one-sided offer of information, public festivals and entertainment events as well as events that merely serve to display an attitude to life therefore do not fall under the definition of an assembly. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the NRW Assembly Act (VersG NRW) applies to public assemblies.

The police have a duty to facilitate and protect assemblies, processions and demonstrations of all groups as an expression of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of assembly and freedom of opinion. In doing so, the police must maintain neutrality; they do not make a political assessment of the topics of demonstrations.

In principle, a public assembly in the open air must be reported to the responsible assembly authority with the necessary information (see below) at least 48 hours before the invitation to the assembly, i.e. before it is called. For assemblies that are to be held in Dortmund or Lünen, the Dortmund Police Headquarters is responsible as the assembly authority. If possible, your assembly notification should be sent to Dortmund Police Headquarters by email using the published form: poststelle.dortmund [at] (poststelle[dot]dortmund[at]polizei[dot]nrw[dot]de) or you can use the Online Police.

Excerpts from the new NRW Assembly Act can be found here:

Notification - § 10 VersG NRW

(1) Anyone wishing to organize a public assembly in the open air must notify the competent authority at least 48 hours before the invitation to the assembly. If several persons are organizing an assembly, only one notification must be submitted. The notification must be made in writing, electronically or in writing.

(2) The notification must describe the planned course of the assembly according to the expected number of participants, place, time and topic, and in the case of processions also the intended route. It must contain the name, telephone contact details and address of the person giving notice and the person who is to lead the meeting. If the assembly leader is only appointed at a later date, the name and address of the intended person and their telephone contact details must be communicated to the competent authority without delay. If the assembly leader makes use of the assistance of stewards, the competent authority must be informed of their deployment, stating the number of persons expected to be deployed for this purpose. The competent authority must be informed immediately of any changes.

(3) If the purpose of the assembly would be jeopardized by adherence to the deadline in accordance with paragraph 1 sentence 1 (urgent assembly), the assembly must be reported to the competent authority or the police at the latest upon announcement. The notification may be made by telephone.

(4) The notification obligation shall only be waived by way of exception if the assembly is formed immediately due to a current event (spontaneous assembly).

Cooperation - Section 3 VersG NRW

(1) It is the task of the competent authority to protect the conduct of the assembly from disruptions and to avert threats to public safety posed by the assembly or by third parties to the assembly or its participants.

(2) If required by the nature and scope of the assembly, the competent authority shall offer the person organizing a public assembly or to whom the leadership has been delegated a cooperation meeting in good time to discuss the danger situation and other circumstances that are essential for the proper conduct of the assembly. If there are indications of dangers that could lead to a ban or restrictions in accordance with Section 13 (1) or (2), Section 23 (1), an opportunity must be given to make a ban or restrictions unnecessary by providing additional information or making changes to the intended assembly.

(3) The organizer of a public assembly is called upon to cooperate with the competent authorities, in particular to provide information about the type, scope and planned course of the event. The organizer is not legally obliged to cooperate. However, the competent authority should take the cooperation of the organizer or the person in charge of the assembly into account when taking measures in accordance with Section 13.

Chairing the meeting - § 5 VersG NRW

(1) Whoever organizes a meeting shall chair the meeting. If several persons organize an assembly, they shall determine the chair of the assembly. If an association organizes the meeting, it shall be chaired by the person who is authorized to act on behalf of the association.

(2) The chairmanship of the meeting is transferable.

(3) If there is no person organizing the meeting, the meeting shall appoint a chairperson. Every public meeting must be chaired by a person. This shall not apply to spontaneous assemblies (section 10(4)).

(4) The provisions of this Act on the chairmanship of assemblies shall only apply to non-public assemblies if a chairperson has been appointed.

Duties and powers of the chair of the meeting - Section 6 VersG NRW

(1) The chair of the meeting shall ensure the orderly conduct of the meeting and work towards its peacefulness. It may interrupt or close the assembly at any time. Before interrupting or closing the assembly, the competent authority must be informed of the intended action.

(2) The assembly leader may enlist the help of suitable stewards, who must be at least 14 years old. At open-air assemblies, these stewards must be identifiable by white armbands or body vests, which may only bear the clearly visible designation "steward" or "stewardess". The provisions of this Act for participants in the assembly shall also apply to stewards.

(3) The instructions of the assembly management and stewards issued to maintain order in the assembly must be followed.

(4) The assembly management may, with the consent of the competent authority, exclude from the assembly persons who significantly disrupt the order of the assembly. Anyone who is excluded from the assembly must leave immediately.

Prohibition of disturbance - § 7 VersG NRW

(1) It is prohibited to disrupt an assembly with the aim of hindering or thwarting it.

(2) Pursuant to paragraph 1, it is prohibited in particular

1. with the intention of hindering or thwarting assemblies that are not prohibited, to commit or threaten acts of violence or to cause disturbances,

2. with the intention of preventing non-prohibited assemblies or thwarting or making it substantially more difficult to hold such assemblies, carrying out acts aimed at promoting acts described in number 1 against forthcoming assemblies or

3. to use violence or threats of violence to resist the assembly leader or stewards in the lawful performance of their duties of order at a public assembly or to physically assault them during the performance of their duties of order.

(3) Communicative counter-protests not aimed at obstruction are not subject to the prohibition of disruption.

Ban on wearing masks and protective equipment - Section 17 VersG NRW

(1) It shall be prohibited to wear or carry on one's person, at or in connection with an open-air assembly or other open-air public event,

1. objects which are suitable for concealing one's identity and which, in the circumstances, are intended to prevent identification carried out for the purpose of prosecuting a criminal offense or an administrative offense, or

2. which are suitable as protective equipment and which, under the circumstances, are intended to ward off enforcement measures by a holder of public authority.

(2) The competent authority shall issue orders to enforce the prohibition, specifying the objects covered by the prohibition.

Prohibition of weapons and violence - Section 8 VersG NRW

(1) It is prohibited

1. weapons within the meaning of Section 1 (2) of the Weapons Act of October 11, 2002 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 3970, 4592; 2003 I p. 1957), which was last amended by Article 228 of the Ordinance of June 19, 2020 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1328), or

2. other portable objects which by their nature are intended or, without being intended, are suitable for this purpose and are intended to be used to cause injury to persons or significant damage to property,

to be carried at assemblies or on the way to or from assemblies, to be brought to assemblies or to be kept ready for use at assemblies or to be distributed. Sentence 1 shall not apply to police officers on duty.

(2) It is prohibited to use violence against persons or property in or from an assembly.

(3) It is prohibited to publicly call for participation in a public assembly that has been prohibited by an enforceable ban or whose enforceable dissolution has been ordered.

Prohibition of violence and intimidation - Section 18 VersG NRW

(1) It shall be prohibited to organize, lead or participate in an open-air assembly or other open-air public event if, as a result of its external appearance,

1. it conveys a readiness for violence through the wearing of uniforms, parts of uniforms or items of clothing similar to uniforms or

2. by a paramilitary appearance

conveys a readiness for violence and thus has an intimidating effect.

(2) In order to enforce the ban, the competent authority shall issue orders specifying the objects or conduct covered by the ban.

Restriction/prohibition/dissolution of the assembly - Section 13 VersG NRW

(1) The competent authority may restrict an open-air assembly in order to avert an immediate danger to public safety. Restrictions may include, in particular, orders regarding the location and course of the event. Assemblies shall not take place on federal highways.

(2) The competent authority may prohibit or dissolve an assembly if its holding directly endangers public safety and the danger cannot be averted in any other way. A prohibited assembly must be dissolved. After the dissolution, the participating persons must leave immediately. It is prohibited to hold a substitute event in place of the dispersed assembly.

(3) If an immediate danger to public safety emanates from third parties, security measures shall be directed against them. If an immediate danger cannot be averted in this way, even with the involvement of state or nationally available police forces, measures in accordance with subsections 1 or 2 may also be taken at the expense of the assembly from which the danger does not emanate. A ban or the dissolution of such an assembly shall be subject to danger to the life or health of persons or to property of considerable value.

(4) If a restrictive order or a ban is to be issued, it shall be announced immediately after the conditions justifying such an order have been established. The announcement of a restrictive order or dissolution that takes place after the start of the assembly must state the reason for the measure.

Symbolic places and days - Section 19 VersG NRW

(1) The competent authority may restrict or prohibit the holding of an open-air assembly and may also dissolve the assembly after it has begun if

1. the assembly takes place at a place which, as a memorial of historically outstanding supraregional significance, commemorates the victims of inhumane treatment under the National Socialist regime of violence or arbitrary rule, or on a day designated to commemorate the victims of inhumane treatment under the National Socialist regime of violence and arbitrary rule, and

2. according to the circumstances discernible at the time the order is issued, there is an imminent danger that the assembly will condone, glorify or justify the National Socialist reign of violence and arbitrariness and thereby disturb public peace.

Protected places pursuant to sentence 1 and their spatial delimitation may be determined by statutory order. Protected days pursuant to sentence 1 are January 27 and November 9.

(2) Prohibition or dissolution shall require that restrictions are not sufficient.

Translated with (API Version)
In urgent cases: Police emergency number 110