Bangkok Protestors Demand End to COVID-19 Lockdown

Protestors at Democracy Monument in Bangkok demanded an end to the restrictive measures placed on free speech and assembly as part of the government’s months-long emergency decree in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protesters, primarily made up of student groups and the Thai State Union, also lobbied in favor of dissolving the current parliament, holding new democratic elections, and establishing a new constitution with respect to democratic principles.

Thailand has operated under a military government in one form or another since a coup d’état in 2006 ousted then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Thailand Constitution protects freedom of speech in Section 34, as follows:

“A person shall enjoy the liberty to express opinions, make speeches, write, print, publicize, and express opinions by other means.”

But free speech in the Thai Constitution can be limited when it is determined to harm others or harms public order, public health, or good morals.

“The restriction of such liberty shall not be imposed, except by virtue of the provisions of law specifically enacted for the purpose of maintaining the security of the state, protecting the rights or liberties of other persons, maintaining public order or good morals, or protecting the health of people.”

Critics of the protests state that the assembly breached the COVID-19 emergency decree.

Thailand criminal law restricts assembly of over 10 persons when it is deemed unlawful pursuant to Section 215 of the Criminal Code.

From all indications, however, the assembly appeared peaceful and orderly.

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