‘Run Against Dictatorship’ organizer summoned on Public Assembly Act charge

Tanawat Wongchai, one of the organisers of the “Run Against Dictatorship” in Bangkok, has been summoned by Bang Sue Police Station for organizing a public assembly without notifying the police according to the Public Assembly Act.

Tanawat Wongchai

Tanawat posted on his Facebook page yesterday (16 January 2020) that the summons required that he report to the police station at 13:00 on Monday (20 January 2020). He insisted that a race is exempted from the Public Assembly Act and that this is a case of harassment of the political opposition.

The Public Assembly Act states that organizers of a political demonstration must notify the authorities no less than 24 hours before the event takes place. However, Article 3, Clause 3 of the Act states that it does not apply to an assembly held for sports or for entertainment. 

However, Tanawat told Prachatai that the summons does not make him concerned about the next race, which is scheduled to take place on 2 February 2020, and that his team is not afraid, their only concern being that pressure from those in power will mean that they might not be able to find anywhere to organize the event.

The “Run Against Dictatorship” was a 6km mini-marathon and demonstration against the current government under Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, and took place on Sunday (12 January 2020). Spin-off events also took place simultaneously in at least 14 other provinces. There have since been many reports of the organizers of “Run Against Dictatorship” events facing intimidation from the authorities in many provinces both before, during, and after the event.

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