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Government lifts Bangkok’s State of Emergency

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Bangkok’s State of Emergency has been lifted, according to a statement published in the Royal Gazette, making it official. The order, banning large public gatherings, and censoring critical media commentary, was imposed last Thursday morning by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, leading to the breaking up a protest and the arrests of a number of activists.

“The current violent situation that led to the announcement of the severe situation has eased and ended to a situation in which government officials and state agencies can enforce the regular laws.”

Protesters ignored the orders and rallies only grew over the past week. The recent series of protests started on Wednesday, October 14 at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument. The demonstration happened to be at the same day and the same route as a royal motorcade, causing complications as well as a clash between the royal supporters and the protesters calling on reform.

Protesters walked to the Government House and intended to set up camp for a few days to put pressure on Prayut to resign. The protest was broken up at 4am the next morning after the prime minister issued the state of emergency. More than 20 activists were arrested, many faced charges of violating the emergency measures.

Despite the government orders, there have been rallies everyday. The emergency order also banned content on websites and social media considered to be a “threat to national security.” Some Thai media outlets covering the protests were under fire, and some authorities tired to suspend them under the emergency order. The court dismissed the requests to block those media companies, saying the Thai Constitution does not give the court power to shutdown media platforms.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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