Thailand Bans Protests as People Call For Reform of The Monarchy

Published October 15th, 2020 - 07:23 GMT

Police have arrested more than 20 people under sweeping new emergency measures, with pro-democracy activists reporting a handful of high-profile leaders are among those detained.

Thailand has issued an emergency decree banning protests as it clamps down on largely peaceful pro-democracy rallies that have also targeted the monarchy.

Under the new emergency measures, gatherings of five or more people have been banned, as has the publication of news or online information that “could create fear” or “affect national security”. 

Police in Bangkok said they would set up checkpoints coordinated with the army to stop protesters gathering under emergency measures imposed to end three months of anti-government protests.

The arrests came after thousands gathered in Bangkok, including on the route of a royal motorcade, with many raising a defiant three-fingers.

Criticism of the monarchy is punishable by up to 15 years in prison under lese majeste laws, though Prayut said earlier this year the king had asked that they not be enforced for now.

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A pro-democracy protester holds up flowers while shouting slogans during an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP

A pro-democracy protester holds up flowers while shouting slogans during an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP

Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP

Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP

Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. Panumas SANGUANWONG / AFP

Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. Panumas SANGUANWONG / AFP

Pro-democracy protesters take part in an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

Pro-democracy protesters take part in an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

Pro-democracy protesters rest on the ground during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP

Pro-democracy protesters rest on the ground during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP

Thailand's Queen Suthida (C) and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (centre L) react inside a royal motorcade as it drives past a pro-democracy rally, as anti-government protesters (back) hold up their three-finger salute, in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Teera NOISAKRAN / AFP

Thailand's Queen Suthida (C) and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (centre L) react inside a royal motorcade as it drives past a pro-democracy rally, as anti-government protesters (back) hold up their three-finger salute, in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Teera NOISAKRAN / AFP

Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after Thailand issued an emergency decree following an anti-government rally the previous day. Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP

Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after Thailand issued an emergency decree following an anti-government rally the previous day. Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP

A pro-democracy protester is arrested by police in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP

A pro-democracy protester is arrested by police in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP

Pro-democracy protesters heckle soldiers as they are deterred from installing razor wire on the road in front of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

Pro-democracy protesters heckle soldiers as they are deterred from installing razor wire on the road in front of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

A pro-democracy protester holds up a sign during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

A pro-democracy protester holds up a sign during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

A pro-democracy protester holds up flowers while shouting slogans during an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. Panumas SANGUANWONG / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters take part in an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters rest on the ground during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP
Thailand's Queen Suthida (C) and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (centre L) react inside a royal motorcade as it drives past a pro-democracy rally, as anti-government protesters (back) hold up their three-finger salute, in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Teera NOISAKRAN / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after Thailand issued an emergency decree following an anti-government rally the previous day. Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP
A pro-democracy protester is arrested by police in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters heckle soldiers as they are deterred from installing razor wire on the road in front of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP
A pro-democracy protester holds up a sign during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP
A pro-democracy protester holds up flowers while shouting slogans during an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP
A pro-democracy protester holds up flowers while shouting slogans during an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. Panumas SANGUANWONG / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. Panumas SANGUANWONG / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters take part in an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters take part in an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters rest on the ground during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters rest on the ground during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Jack TAYLOR / AFP
Thailand's Queen Suthida (C) and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (centre L) react inside a royal motorcade as it drives past a pro-democracy rally, as anti-government protesters (back) hold up their three-finger salute, in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Teera NOISAKRAN / AFP
Thailand's Queen Suthida (C) and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (centre L) react inside a royal motorcade as it drives past a pro-democracy rally, as anti-government protesters (back) hold up their three-finger salute, in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Teera NOISAKRAN / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after Thailand issued an emergency decree following an anti-government rally the previous day. Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP
Riot police prepare to disperse pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after Thailand issued an emergency decree following an anti-government rally the previous day. Sirachai ARUNRUGSTICHAI / AFP
A pro-democracy protester is arrested by police in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP
A pro-democracy protester is arrested by police in Bangkok on October 15, 2020, after the government declared a state of emergency following an anti-government rally the previous day. STR / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters heckle soldiers as they are deterred from installing razor wire on the road in front of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP
Pro-democracy protesters heckle soldiers as they are deterred from installing razor wire on the road in front of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP
A pro-democracy protester holds up a sign during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP
A pro-democracy protester holds up a sign during an anti-government rally next to Government House in Bangkok on October 14, 2020. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP