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02 Dec 2020 | 09:23 PM UTC

Thailand: Pro-government activists to gather at Constitutional Court in Bangkok from 1000 Dec. 3

Pro-government activists to gather at Constitutional Court in Bangkok from 1000 Dec. 3; tight security almost certain

security
THA

Event

Pro-government activists plan to gather at the Constitutional Court in Chaeng Watthana Government Complex, Bangkok, from 1000 Dec. 3, to oppose constitutional challenges against the government and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha. Hundreds to thousands of people have taken part in previous pro-government protests in Bangkok, and the upcoming gathering may involve similar numbers.

Authorities will almost certainly heighten security, including erecting roadblocks and security cordons, at the Constitutional Court and its surrounding area Dec. 3. Localized transport and business disruptions are possible, especially if activists occupy nearby roads. Officials may close nearby train stations and streets to facilitate security measures. Pro-democracy groups may stage counterprotests near the site. Police will probably disperse demonstrators if they attempt to bypass security cordons. Clashes between rival groups, as well as between protesters and security personnel, are possible. Mass arrests may occur if security forces consider any demonstrators to violate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, lese majeste laws that ban alleged insults against the monarchy, or requirements for public gathering permits.

Context

The constitutional court ruled, Dec. 2, that Prayuth's current residence at an army facility is not a constitutional violation and abuse of power; opposition members of parliament had filed the case against the prime minister. Royalist and pro-democracy activists have staged multiple rival demonstrations in Bangkok and other cities nationwide since July. Pro-democracy groups are denouncing the current government's alleged non-democratic policies and are demanding political reforms, such as rewriting the constitution and Prayuth's resignation. However, royalist groups claim that pro-democracy agendas undermine the monarchy and state institutions and have demonstrated against actions or organizations that they deem are disrespectful of the monarchy. While Prayuth said Oct. 28 that he would agree to constitutional amendments, including removing the Senate's power to vote on the prime minister's election, further demonstrations are likely in Bangkok and other cities across Thailand.

Advice

Avoid the Constitutional Court and its surrounding area Dec. 3 due to increased security measures and possible clashes. Seek updated information on any possible counterrallies from local sources, as organizers may not announce details in advance. Plan for possible localized transport and business disruptions. If violence occurs nearby, immediately leave the area and seek shelter in a non-government building. Heed all official traffic and security advisories.

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