Thailand’s government has banned assemblies, protests, and mass gatherings citing fears over Covid-19 spreading. The Royal Gazette, Thailand’s official site for publishing new laws and regulations, made the announcement late last night on the heels of another protest scheduled for today.
The ban is in place for Bangkok and 5 other provinces including Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, and Nonthaburi provinces.
Thai Government officials insist the ban on protests is not political but some are skeptical as a protest last weekend ended in violence after demonstrators tried to march to the home of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The “leaderless protest” set for today, by “Redem” pro-democracy group, is set to march to the Thai Criminal Court. And, protest groups on social media have stated that the new regulations will not stop scheduled future protests.
Despite the Emergency Decree that has been put in place to ban mass gatherings, the new law will cover more ground by giving the government more power to assert control over law-breakers by including fines up to 40,000 baht or up to 2 years in jail. The new law is effective until further notice.
Yesterday, the pro-democracy group Ratsadon, arrived to the outskirts of Bangkok, after a nearly 250 kilometre, 17 day long walk from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district. The group was protesting the imprisonment of 9 pro-democracy demonstrators who are being denied bail. The march, named “Walk Through the Sky: Bring Back the People’s Power,” started on February 16.
The march is expected to end today at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, but it is unclear whether or not the protest will be stopped in accordance to the new ban.
Thailand has seen a drop in the amount of daily reported cases of Covid-19, with numbers decreasing to double-digits. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration assistant spokeswoman is now claiming that Thailand has successfully contained the second wave of Covid, which broke out last December.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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