Riotous Assemblies Act, 1956

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Riotous Assemblies Act, 1956
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Act to consolidate the laws relating to riotous assemblies and the prohibition of the engendering of feelings of hostility between the European and non-European inhabitants of the Republic and matters incidental thereto, and the laws relating to certain offences.
Citation Act No. 17 of 1956
Enacted by Parliament of South Africa
Date of Royal Assent 8 March 1956
Date commenced 16 March 1956
Administered by Minister of Justice
Repealing legislation
Intimidation Act, 1982
Internal Security Act, 1982
Status: Substantially amended

The Riotous Assemblies Act, Act No 17 of 1956 in South Africa (taking effect 16 March) prohibited gatherings in open-air public places if the Minister of Justice considered they could endanger the public peace. Banishment was also included as a form of punishment.

This act was presumably[citation needed] passed in response to the Congress of the People, held at Kliptown, near Johannesburg, in June 1955. Following a call from the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Indian Congress, the South African Coloured People's Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats, and the South African Congress of Trade Unions, some 3,000 people met with the purpose of adopting the Freedom Charter.

The Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 surfaced[clarification needed] in the notorious Treason Trial.