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UPDATE: Bangkok under a State of Emergency, protests ‘cleared’, 20+ arrested,

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PHUOTO: Dawn breaks in Bangkok, under a State of Emergency - Thai PBS World

Bangkok awakes to a State of Emergency, imposed at 4am to quell the growing support of the latest protest movement. The Thai government has used its emergency decree powers to impose a “State of Emergency” in Bangkok, and placed a ban on gatherings of any more than 5 people. The tough new security laws, put in place early this morning, are the latest effort of the government and police to short circuit the growing street protest movement that are calling for a change in government, the stepping down of the prime minister, parliamentary and constitutional reform.

The early morning announcement prompted 100s of crowd-control police and military squads in riot gear to move from Phitsanulok Road to the Nang Loeng Intersection near Government House around 4.40am, pushing the protesters out of the area. As police moved in to clear the protest ‘camp’ outside Government House. By 6am at least 7 people were arrested, as reported in Prachatai.

The announcement specifically mentions the protest group “Khana Ratsadorn” in the declaration. Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan has been designated to oversee the current the state of emergency in the capital.

The announcement was made after protesters, pushing their way through barricades as they made their way to Government House yesterday afternoon, set up camp last night announcing that they would stay there until their demands were met.

The State of Emergency effectively ends the street protests, the latest movement which started back in August with a gathering of around 10,000, unveiling a 10-point ‘manifesto’ that included, controversially, the reform of the country’s revered monarchy.

The announcement was accompanied by a document laying out measures taking affect from 4am this morning to ban any large gatherings and empowering police and officials to “ban people from entering any area”.

The latest decree also bans the publication of news or online messaging that “could harm national security” The statement said that the government also acted after demonstrators “obstructed a royal motorcade”.

“It is extremely necessary to introduce an urgent measure to end this situation effectively and promptly to maintain peace and order.”

“Publication of news, other media, and electronic information that contains messages that could create fear or intentionally distort information, creating misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order.”

Police in riot gear then moved in on the protesters, advancing behind shields. By this stage thousands of the earlier rally crowds had already dispersed. Protesters did their best to resist arrest and used trash cans and some of the barricades that had cordoned off the area. But they were outnumbered.

From 2pm yesterday some 3,000 people had gathered at Democracy Monument to begin their march to Government House. It is estimated that the crowd grew to 10,000 at its peak. There are conflicting and widely variable crowd estimates this morning. Earlier Anon Nampa had announced to the crowd that, by law, government could only break up the protest during the day, and they must have a warrant. The officials had other ideas.

Yesterday’s stand off between protesters, ‘royal supporters’, mostly trucked in from outside Bangkok, and security officials, was complicated by HM the King’s motorcade which was scheduled to pass the protest area to attend a royal ceremony.

About 15,000 police were on site yesterday to patrol and oversee the protest area near Democracy Monument. Public buses were parked strategically to block the rally’s path to Government House.

The area outside Government House has now been cleared and city workers moved in to remove any remnants of yesterday, and early this morning’s, protest activities. A human rights group has named 4 of the people arrested as Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Phanuphong Jadnok and Prasit Utharoj.

Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul, a critic of the monarchy and one of the protest organisers, was also arrested at a Bangkok hotel just after hosting a Facebook, livestream, “calling on people to join a rally planned for Rathchaprasong Intersection in Bangkok’s central shopping district at 4pm this afternoon.

(At the time of publication the full tally of people arrested is not confirmed. Some news sources are reporting up to 20 people have been arrested with “many others” being carted away in police security vans. We will keep you up to date on the latest in this developing story)

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    patty

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Very typical. Once again, Prayut using the “emergency decree” to his advantage. Another pathetic act by the junta. After preaching many times that the protest was ok as long as it was not violent, then he turns around and slaps a state of emergency in BKK. So if I’m walking down sukhumvit Rd with 5 of my friends, we will get arrested or what? I dont understand why most Thais dont see what he is doing.

    • Avatar

      Thai man

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Thais see and fully support our beloved PM Prayut Chan Ocha. Students must return to class

  2. Avatar

    Fabian

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 9:47 am

    “It is extremely necessary to introduce an urgent measure to end this situation effectively and promptly to maintain peace and order.”

    This is not about maintaining peace. The protester were very peaceful. This is about Prayut trying to secure his power by silencing those who stand up for democracy.

    Is Thailand going after China? Everybody brainwashed by state media and those few who still dare to stand up get kicked into jail?

    We live in dark times. Governments all over the world oppressing their people. It’s like a virus spreading.

    • Avatar

      Mike White

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 10:12 am

      This guy loves the chicoms

    • Avatar

      SG666

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Wrong…governments all over the world using the virus to oppress their citizens..spread fear and rule through it always worked well..especially in societies where the educational standard of the population is kept at a low level. This makes it even easier.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 9:54 am

    The previous posts have written it all.
    I am surprised the dictators took so long.
    I hope now the Thais realise who they are dealing with, and make a real determined effort to rid the country of these tyrants.
    Otherwise they will be enslaved to a few who will plunder the wealth of the country, while the citizens live in poverty.

  4. Avatar

    Gosport

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Well done, for the national and public safety, lock rioters up. Swift actions are needed.

  5. Avatar

    James Scott

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Last country on the planet I would ever visit, and I say that as someone who spent many years living in Chiang Mai.

    A country rapidly disintegrating into civil war, with an inept, corrupt government destroying the economy and the people’s future.

    Expect the military to descend upon civilians soon and start shooting. That is how this always ends in Thailand. A country that is never going to pull itself out of Third World status until the military are prevented from ever again holding a coup and taking power.

    Prayut needs to go. He is a cancer on the country.

    • Avatar

      Marcel

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      So go comment on another country – why are you even on this website here?

    • Avatar

      James

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 10:17 pm

      Scott

      I was in Thailand for seven months this year and the demonstration going on in Bangkok had no effect at all on us in Phuket.

      Farangs have no rights in Thailand as far as politics go and we are not affected, but we know we have no rights and we knew that before going to the country so what is the problem?

      If farangs don’t like it then go elsewhere.

      You stayed in Chiang Mai for a few years but you did not live there as like the rest of us farangs we are temporary guests and have to apply for visas at least once a year and report to the police every few months but we know that before going there.

      Thailand has many great things going for it and some negative things just like most countries in the world.

  6. Avatar

    Thomas B

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    When I came to Thailand years ago it was a land of smile. Now I wake up with feeling of being in North Korea. This government takes clearly wrong ways of destruction instead of developing. Very sad to see and each day passing less feel of staying in this country.

  7. Avatar

    James

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    I see thousands are ignoring the government and are out demonstrating again on Thursday 15th October.

    It will now start to get serious and nasty with loss of life.

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