Tuesday 22nd May marks the fourth anniversary of the coup in Thailand that brought the current military leadership to power. Rallies and protests may take place, but these are banned and you should definitely avoid them. Monitor local media and comply with instructions from the authorities.
Reuters reports that ‘Thai police declared Bangkok’s Government House and surrounding streets a no-go zone for Tuesday’s planned opposition march.’ Entering the exclusion zone is forbidden. The authorities also issued a reminder that there is a ban on public gatherings of more than five people. You should also be aware of the lese majeste rules, which are broadly interpreted and forbid insults to the Royal family.
There is also a heightened terror threat during Ramadan, especially in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla. On Sunday, ‘explosives were placed near ATM machines and bank branches in at least 14 locations across four southern provinces‘. The explosions occurred around 19:00, just after the evening prayers marking the end of the day’s fast. Three people were injured. (Links to coverage at the end of this piece.)
22 May marks 4 years since #Thailand’s military coup. Avoid demonstrations & political events. Take official warnings seriously. Road closures may be in place in popular tourist spots, incl #Bangkok Government House. Allow extra time for travel https://t.co/TrTppejeNU @AusAmbBKK
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) May 21, 2018
From the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice –
People have been charged and prosecuted for criticising the 2014 military coup, its anniversaries, and calling for new elections. You should be wary of making political statements in public. Lèse-majesté, (criticism of the monarchy in any form) is a crime which can be broadly interpreted, and carries a long jail sentence. You should avoid any protests, political gatherings, demonstrations or marches.
Please click here to read the rest of the advisory.
These protesters in Thailand want the military to return power back to the people. pic.twitter.com/rOacSbQ518
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 21, 2018
Prayuth Chan-ocha may well find a way to stay on as prime minister https://t.co/5g24qCeDZd
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) May 19, 2018
Since January 2004, there have been regular attacks in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, and in the southern four districts of Songkhla province. These have included arson, bombings and shootings. Targets have included civilians and members of the security forces, government offices, tourist hotels, discos, bars, shops, marketplaces, supermarkets, schools, transport infrastructure and trains. Over 7,700 people, including civilians, have been killed and several thousand more injured. No British nationals have been killed in these attacks, but some foreigners have been killed and injured.
Martial law has been in place in nearly all areas within these provinces since 2006. The security authorities can detain suspects without charge, censor the media, conduct searches and seize documents. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and southern Songkhla province.
Please click here to read the rest of the advice.
- Reuters: Thai police declare no-go zones for anti-junta march
- Channel NewsAsia: Multiple bomb attacks hit Thailand’s deep south, injure three people
- The Business Times: Coordinated bombs rock ‘peace progress’ claims in Thai south
- Bangkok Post: Ramadan bombings rock southernmost provinces
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