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British embassy in Thailand issues advice over student demonstrations

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PHOTO: The 3-finger salute is being used as a symbol for anti-government student protests

The British Embassy has issued travel advice that applies to all foreigners living in Thailand. The ‘advice’ refers to the escalation of the student and activist anti-government protests. In the past, generally, these situations don’t end well once there is a critical mass and the government, via the Army, decide to step in.But at this stage the tone of both sides has been peaceful.

The government are mindful of the impact of the local Covid-19 outbreak, and the lockdowns, and would want to avoid any bad publicity from a student protest crackdown to exacerbate the situation. The Thai PM has, so far, taken a conciliatory tone but also issued warnings about ‘no go’ subject matter, including criticism of the Thai monarchy.

At the same time the demonstrators are sensing the moment of weakness for the government, coupled with recent cabinet reshuffles, and seizing the moment.

For our part, The Thaiger would simply urge foreigners to avoid attending these events. They are very likely to remain peaceful at this stage but police have been actively attending the demonstrations and taking video and photos – you’re best not to be in those photos. That is OUR advice, not advice from officials or your government’s embassy.

It would also be wise to avoid sharing your point of view about the protests in public, especially when there are others privy to your conversation that you don’t know.

The areas the protests are being held are usually popular public spaces, or in University or school campuses. The protests, up to now, have been confined to gatherings of up to 200 people, mostly less. But there appears to be both growing support and number of events staged by the pro-democracy protesters.

Interesting times.

Here’s the words from the British Embassy….

“Avoid any protests, political gatherings, demonstrations or marches, and be wary of making political statements in public. People have faced criminal charges for participating in these activities. Others, including British people, have faced charges for sharing articles online that could be seen as portraying Thailand negatively or making accusations about individuals. Lèse-majesté (criticism of the monarchy in any form) is a crime which can be broadly interpreted, and carries a long jail sentence.”

The Thaiger is actively following this story and will provide regular posts about new demonstrations.

 

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