Peaceful Assembly

In 2014 the military outlawed political protests and banned unsanctioned gatherings of more than 5 people. While some protests did take place during the coup’s blanket ban, freedom of assembly has been seriously impeded from 2015 onwards. The law on public assemblies in 2015 stipulates that protesters now need to seek prior permission before an assembly and adhere to regulations governing when and where protests can take place. The limited number of protests that do go ahead usually take place in an incredibly tense atmosphere; on 5th July 2016, more than 1,000 people gathered on the streets of Bangkok to voice their opposition to the military junta, leading to clashes with heavily armed security forces. In this repressive environment, people in Thailand have found alternative ways to mobilise. At one university, students organised “sandwich parties” where groups gather under the guise of having lunch together. The authorities responded by declaring “eating sandwiches with political intent” a criminal act. Other groups have used salutes to display their desire for significant political reform in Thailand.