Large gatherings banned in Thailand under emergency decree

Large gatherings banned in Thailand under emergency decree
Security forces were deployed to disperse protesters early on Thursday. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The Thai government has announced an emergency decree to combat protests in Bangkok. The decree also banned large gatherings.

Police said in a televised announcement that “many groups of people have invited, incited and carried out unlawful public gatherings in Bangkok”.

Police said urgent measures were needed to “maintain peace and order”.

Protesters have called for curbs on the country’s king’s powers and for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

The announcement said protesters had “instigated chaos and public unrest”.

The announcement was broadcast on state television and it cited protesters confronting a royal motorcade on Wednesday as a reason for the decree. The protesters raised the three-finger salute that has become a symbol of the protest movement as the queen was driven through Bangkok.

The measures came into effect at 04:00 local time on Thursday (21:00 GMT on Wednesday).

The decree also puts restrictions on the media, prohibiting the “publication of news, other media and electronic information that contains messages that could create fear or intentionally distort information, creating misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order”.

Reuters news agency reports that the decree also allows authorities to stop people from entering “any area they designate.”

The growing student-led protest movement began in July and the movement has become the greatest challenge in years to Thailand’s ruling establishment. Protests over the weekend in the capital Bangkok were some of the largest in years, with thousands of protesters defying authorities to gather and demand change.

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