Military, police prohibit Free Palestine gathering in Bangkok

Soldiers and police officers have barred Muslim students from gathering to show solidarity with Palestine.

On 29 July 2017, about 60 soldiers and police officers from Bangsue Police Station, both in uniform and plainclothes, disrupted a gathering of the Muslim Students Federation of Thailand (MUSTFETH) at Chatuchak Park in Bangkok.

The students organised the gathering called ‘Save Al-Aqsa, Justice for Palestinians, Free Palestine’ where they planned to hold a discussion, pray, and deliver a group statement to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“This issue is about foreign countries, and is not related to all of us (Thai people), so it’s not necessary to show a standpoint at all,” M Today news quoted one of the officers as saying.

The officers forced the organisers to cancel the event entirely, giving as a reason that it is prohibited under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Head’s Order No. 3/2015, the junta’s ban on gatherings of five or more persons, and detained five of them for interrogation.

The police closed the gates of the park and recorded the names of the participants at the event before they were dispersed at around 3 pm.

The organisers tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the officers to just have the discussion and prayer without reading the statement, but the officers threatened to call in reinforcements if the event went ahead.

Security officers prohibiting students from holding an event to show solidarity with Palestine at Chatuchak Park in Bangkok on 29 July 2017 (Photos from the MUSTFETH Facebook page)