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Thailand: More arrests amid drastic emergency order banning rallies

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Responding to news that Thai authorities had ordered a public meeting of five or more people in Bangkok and to exchange information that could create fear, Amnesty International Regional Campaign Director Ming Yu Hah said:

This blurred boundaries will lead to more people being unjustly arrested, detained and unfairly prosecuted.

With further public assemblies expected to take place today, we urge the Thai authorities to engage in a constructive dialogue with the protesters.

The rate of arrests this morning seems completely unjustified based on yesterday’s events. The assemblies were extremely peaceful. These movements are clearly designed to be dissident and instill fear in anyone who sympathizes with the views of the protesters. Peaceful protesters should be released immediately and unconditionally, and all detainees should have access to legal counsel.

Instead of deciding with mass decrees and arrests, the Thai authorities should change course.

Ming Yu Hah, Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns

These arrest and immediate emergency measures, announced in the middle of the night, are just the latest escalation in Thailand of the current attack on freedom of expression and speed assembly.

Instead of imposing decrees and mass arrests, the Thai authorities should change course. Simply, in accordance with their international obligations to respect the rights of anyone who simply wants to speak peacefully, on social media or the streets.

Background

On October 15, 2020, Taiau authorities ordered an indefinite rally of five or more people in Bangkok, the capital, under emergency measures to stop the escalation of protests. The ban took effect at 4 a.m. local time. The order also prohibits the publication of news or messages on the Internet that could create fear, affect national security or damage public morals.

According tonews reports, at least 20 people were arrested in the early hours for alleged state of emergency violations in countries since May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amnesty International confused the authorities at the time for not using this state of emergency to violate human rights.

At least 21 people were arrested earlier this week for taking part in demonstrations.

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