Thai police force cancellation of talk on human rights

Update: The FCCT has announced that the scheduled event for Thursday tonight, the launch of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report on the human rights situation after the coup, has been cancelled on the orders of the NCPO and the police. However, TLHR will still hold a press briefing to clarify why the event was cancelled at 6 pm at the FCCT.    

Thai police have pressured the organizers of an event on human rights to cancel it while the organizers remain adamant on going ahead with the original plan. 

According to Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen, a lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), two police officers in uniform and three others in plain clothes came to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) in central Bangkok on Thursday morning and ordered club staff to cancel a TLHR event on human rights.

Initially, TLHR planned to launch a report on the human rights situation in Thailand after the coup d’état at the FCCT at 6 pm on Thursday. The report launch would be followed by a discussion with participants.

At the FCCT, the police officers claimed that the event must be cancelled in accordance to the junta’s order and warned that they would close the entrance of the Maneeya Building, where the FCCT is located, if the event went ahead, Poonsuk said. 

The TLHR, however, is still determined to hold the event and demanded that the police officers present a formal letter from the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to confirm the order.

Following the TLHR, Jonathan Head, the President of the FCCT and a BBC reporter, also requested the police officers to present the formal letter cancelling the event.

Head said that it would be difficult for him to tell club members if there is no formal letter from the authorities.

He added that although the event might be cancelled, the FCCT would still be open.