Thailand bans protests under emergency decree

Police officers march in position behind riot shields during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thailand’s government has imposed a state of emergency on Thursday night in the face of escalating protests calling for reforms to the monarchy and the resignation of Prime Minister and a former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha.

In a televised announcement the government said urgent measures were needed to “maintain peace and order”.

The ruling bans gatherings of five or more people and the publication of news or online messages that could harm national security.

At least 20 activists and two of the movement’s leaders arrested early on Thursday, police said.

The BBC stated that, those arrested include three protest leaders – the human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, student activist Parit Chiwarak, widely known by his nickname “Penguin”, and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.