Seminar on draft charter aborted over junta’s political gathering ban

Thai Police have ordered a seminar about the new draft constitution to be aborted, saying that it is against the junta’s political gathering ban.  

The facebook page of ‘Prachamati’ (referendum), an online forum which summarises controversial content in the draft constitution and allow people to vote whether they agree or disagree with it, on Saturday, 27 February 2016, posted that a seminar about the controversial new draft constitution titled ‘New Constitution: What Are We Going to Do?’ is cancelled.

The seminar was scheduled between 10 am-1 pm on Sunday at Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC).

The forum was cancelled after the police from Pathumwan Police Station notified BACC that the even might be illegal under the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 3/2015, which bans any political gathering of five or more persons.

BACC staff then informed the organisers that they have to prohibit the event from being held at the venue.

The organisers earlier informed the authorities that the planned forum is not a political gathering, but a public seminar which would allow people to discuss about the new draft constitution. However, there has been no response from the authorities.

“We just hope that people will still have space to express their opinion about the new draft constitution in various different means and not having their rights arbitrarily suppressed,” Prachamati added on its facebook post. “We will continue to campaign to create awareness about the draft charter online.”

Prachamati website was founded with the cooperation of Prachatai and Thaipublica, alternative media agencies, iLaw, an internet platform promoting civil laws related to freedom of expression, and the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University.