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World Thailand protests: Government announces emergency decree to quell pro-democracy demonstrations

07:25  15 october  2020
07:25  15 october  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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An emergency decree has been announced in Thailand to combat anti- government protests in Thailand 's government has implemented an emergency decree to quell anti- government Pro - democracy demonstrators wearing traditional dress give a three-finger salute amid calls for a

Thailand 's government has announced an emergency decree to combat protests in Bangkok. Authorities say 18,000 people joined Saturday's demonstration , although others gave higher figures. Protests were re-energised in June when prominent pro - democracy activist Wanchalearm

Thailand's government arrested several prominent protest leaders and announced a ban on gatherings of more than five people under an emergency decree Thursday aimed at quelling pro-democracy demonstrations that have gripped the country for more than three months.

a group of people watching a band on stage in front of a crowd: Pro-democracy protesters seen pushing back Thai police during an anti-government demonstration on October 14, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. © Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Pro-democracy protesters seen pushing back Thai police during an anti-government demonstration on October 14, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The decree, which came into effect in the capital Bangkok at 4 a.m. local time, was enforced after thousands of protesters marched from the city's Democracy Monument and broke through a police barricade to camp outside Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's offices late Wednesday. Demonstrators were calling for Prayut's resignation and reform of the monarchy.

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Pro - democracy demonstrations and other civil disobedience in Thailand . The protests erupted again on 18 July in a large demonstration organized under the Free Youth umbrella at the Democracy Monument. The government has invoked Emergency Decree since 26 March and issued a

The emergency decree restricts transport, publication of "sensitive news" and gives police and soldiers authority to resolve the " emergency situation." The move follows anti- government protests in Bangkok. Thailand 's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, signed an emergency decree on Thursday

a man wearing a hat: Thai riot police force protesters to retreat away from Government House on October 15, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. © Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images Thai riot police force protesters to retreat away from Government House on October 15, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand.

"As it has appeared that there have been several groups inviting, inciting and committing illegal assembly," the decree read. "There have been activities which affected the public's peace and order."

The government also cited protesters obstructing a royal motorcade as reason for the emergency decree. Video from the scene showed police pushing back protesters who were shouting and making the defiant three-fingered salute from the "Hunger Games" movies as a car carrying Queen Suthida and King Maha Vajiralongkorn's youngest son, Prince Dipangkorn, slowly drove past.

Protesters gather ahead of pro-democracy rally in tense Bangkok

  Protesters gather ahead of pro-democracy rally in tense Bangkok More than a thousand protesters gathered in Bangkok ahead of a pro-democracy rally on Wednesday, with tensions high in Thailand after the arrest of 21 pro-reform activists a day earlier. The activists are part of a movement that has organised rallies since July, calling for an overhaul of the government and the resignation of Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha. Some have also demanded reforms to the unassailable monarchy. Anon Numpa -- a prominentThe activists are part of a movement that has organised rallies since July, calling for an overhaul of the government and the resignation of Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha. Some have also demanded reforms to the unassailable monarchy.

Thousands of protesters staged another anti- government rally in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on The latest wave of protests began in February after the pro - democracy Future Forward Party (FFP) was dissolved by court order. The Thai government has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

A state of emergency instituted because of the coronavirus made the demonstration technically illegal Thailand ’s growing protest movement, which was set off by student activism last month Sunday’s protest took place at the Democracy Monument, which was built to commemorate the

a crowd of people watching a colorful umbrella: Protesters seen walking toward Government House during an anti-government demonstration in Bangkok. © Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images Protesters seen walking toward Government House during an anti-government demonstration in Bangkok.

"Therefore, there are enough grounds to believe that violent acts have been committed. And this has affected the government's stability, safety, property and staff. This is no longer a peaceful assembly as it should be warrant by the constitution," the decree added.

Along with limiting groups to five people, the emergency decree includes a nationwide ban on publishing and broadcasting news and information -- including online -- that incites fear among the public. Assigned officers will now be permitted to implement new traffic rules and close certain premises to the public.

Thai Leaders Have No Easy Options to End Anti-Monarchy Protests

  Thai Leaders Have No Easy Options to End Anti-Monarchy Protests Over the past few decades in Thailand, a crackdown or coup would eventually bring an end to street protests and life would more or less go back to normal until the next round of demonstrations. But this time the Thai establishment has a bigger problem: The student-led protest movement doesn’t want power for itself -- it wants to fundamentally change a political system that has seen about 20 military coups since 1932. And they also aren’t afraid to criticize the monarchy, the lynchpin that holds the system in place.

Protests have escalated for three months and protesters set up camp outside Government Houseto demand his resignation late on Wednesday. Shortly after the emergency decree took affect, riot police advanced behind shields on protesters who had camped outside Government House.

When the popular pro - democracy Future Forward Party -- which won the third highest number of votes in the Why the protesters are back out on the streets. Thailand has had success in containing the coronavirus The emergency decree gives the Prime Minister power to ban public assemblies, stop

Police also arrested several prominent activists early Thursday following Wednesday's anti-government protests, according to Thai Lawyers For Human Rights.

Student leader and activist Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, 21, was searched by officers in plain clothes at a hotel near the protest site then arrested in connection with a speech she made in August, the lawyers' group said.

Human rights lawyer and protest leader Arnon Nampa was arrested Thursday morning following a speech he made in the northern city of Chiang Mai on Wednesday.

And Panupong Jadnok was also arrested Thursday morning, though it's not clear why he was detained. Panupong and Arnon have been arrested once before this year in connection with the protests.

On August 10, Panusaya stood on a stage and publicly delivered a 10-point list of demands for reform to the monarchy. Panusaya is spokesperson for the student union group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, and their demands include revoking laws against defaming the monarchy, a new constitution, abolishing royal offices, ousting the military-led government and disbanding the King's royal guards.

Thailand protests: Government vows to protect the monarchy after weekend of unrest

  Thailand protests: Government vows to protect the monarchy after weekend of unrest Thailand's government has vowed to protect the monarchy after tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters rallied in Bangkok and other cities over the weekend, as calls for a new constitution and curbing the King's powers continue to grow.Demonstrators again defied an emergency decree banning public gatherings of more than five people and hit the streets en masse for a fifth straight day on Sunday, with about 10,000 people surrounding Bangkok's Victory Monument in the heart of the capital and blocking traffic around one of the city's main business centers.

Protest leaders announced plans to stay there for at least three days. Pro - democracy protesters march towards the Government House during an anti- government rally in Bangkok. Pro - democracy demonstrators wearing traditional dress give a three-finger salute amid calls for a

Demonstrators gather in cities across country as military government looks set to push back voting for a fifth time.

Student-led protests that have been ongoing across Thailand since July have escalated in recent weeks. Protesters, which now include a large cross-section of society among their ranks, are calling for a new constitution, the dissolution of parliament and resignation of Prime Minister Prayut, as well as an end to intimidation of government critics.

But an increasingly central demand is reforming the monarchy to curb King Vajiralongkorn's powers and ensure a true constitutional monarch under a democratic system.

It's the biggest challenge to the ruling establishment in decades, with young people publicly breaking entrenched taboos on speaking openly about the royal family in public. Thailand has some of the world's strictest lese majeste laws, and criticizing the King, Queen, or heir apparent can lead to a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

The King, who spends much of his time overseas, returned to Thailand this week for a host of royal duties, including marking the memorial day of his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

King Vajiralongkorn was confronted by protesters for the first time Tuesday. After a demonstration outside the Prime Minister's offices was broken up by police with 21 protesters arrested, the King's convoy drove past demonstrators who shouted "release our friends" and gave the three-fingered salute.

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Authorities had stepped up security the following morning, deploying about 15,000 police to control crowds. As protesters gathered, they were met by lines of royalist groups who had turned out dressed in yellow -- the color of the monarchy.

"I am here to show my respect to the King," said 65-year-old Nid, a private business owner from Bangkok. Of the protesters, he said "they should go back home and focus on their studies. Our country has three pillars; nation, religion and the monarchy. They should know that."

There were questions over whether protesters could once again muster the big crowds seen at previous rallies but as Wednesday wore on, thousands of people joined the march -- with hundreds staying overnight outside Government House.

On Thursday morning, protest group Free Youth called on people to defy the gathering ban and join an afternoon demonstration in Bangkok, saying in a statement on Facebook that, "high school and university students, workers and general people have assembled peacefully and have not started any violence."

"But it is clear now the government has intentionally used the monarchy as a tool to get rid of those who are calling out for their better future, the future with equality and no more disparity," the group said.

While the student-led movement has suffered a setback with the arrest of its core leaders, it "is likely to maintain traction," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, political scientist and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University.

"Popular grievances are so wide and deep as traditional Thai institutions, such as military, monarchy and judiciary, have impeded reform and change that can enable Thailand to move ahead," he said.

He added that Wednesday's scenes were "an overdue and pent-up showdown that was kept under the lid during the last reign. This is Thailand's grinding transformation to arrive in the 21st century."

Free on bail, prominent Thai protest leader pledges to keep up campaign .
Free on bail, prominent Thai protest leader pledges to keep up campaignBANGKOK (Reuters) - One of the most prominent leaders of more than three months of anti-government protests in Thailand was freed on bail on Friday and pledged to keep up the campaign to remove Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

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