freedom of assembly
Prachatai speaks to Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, on the importance of the freedom of association and assembly in democratic societies, restrictions on these rights, and the role of the internet in political participation.
“Article 12. Political gatherings of five or more persons, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO or an authorized representative.”
The anti-junta march has called for legal protection after the authorities searched their supply trucked, detained four protesters and intimidated a temple that sheltered them. On 22 January 2018, the third day of the rally “We Walk, A Walk for Friendship” from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, the march organiser, petitioned the Administrative Court to grant them legal protection after facing repeated intimidation from the authorities. Organised by a group of civil rights activists called the
Three social events organised by anti-junta groups have been forced to cancel after the authorities repeatedly intimidated the owners of the venues. The three events are a new year party in Samut Songkhram, a friendly football match in Bangkok, and a folk music concert in Bangkok.
As the general election is scheduled less than one year from now, people are wondering whether the Thai junta will allow more freedom of association and assembly ahead of the election campaigns. We saw mixed signals last week. Meanwhile, a legal adviser to the junta has suggested ways to amend the election law, which may result in the postponement of the election.
The police are preparing to issue arrest warrants for 20 more protestors against the coal-fired power plant in Songkhla. On 30 November 2017, Thai PBS reported that police of Mueang District of Songkhla Province are preparing to issue arrest warrants for 20 people who joined 15 key leaders of the network from Songkhla and Pattani provinces in a protest against the planned coal-fired power plant and deep sea port in Songkhla.
The police have arrested two anti-establishment red shirts in Isaan (northeast Thailand) for joining a red shirt demonstration seven years ago. On 7 September 2017, police officers from the Department of Special Investigation took Somphon Chaikong, 49, to the public prosecutor of Udon Thani Province. He was accused of joining an illegal assembly of more than 10 people and blocking a public road in Udon Thani on 25 April 2010 in parallel with the red shirt demonstrations in Bangkok.
The police have accused a villager in Sakon Nakhon of breaching the Public Assembly Act for participating in an anti-potash mining event. On 27 March 2017, Satanon Chuenta, a member of the Wanon Niwat Environmental Conservation Group, reported to Wanon Niwat District Police Station in the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon.
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Fortify Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), acting as international observers of the Bersih 5 rallies and related events, are calling on the Malaysian authorities to drop all charges against the Bersih organizers and activists. The authorities should return all items confiscated from the Bersih offices and stop making further arbitrary arrests in connection with these events.