Amnesty International calls on Thai government to stop intimidating and arbitrarily arresting protesters

Amnesty International has sent an open letter to Gen Maj. Chaktip Chaichinda urging the Royal Thai Police to not arbitrarily interfere with the exercise of rights and peaceful assembly on its citizens when policing assemblies in Thailand.

The letter, penned by the organization’s Deputy Director of East and Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional office Ming Yu Hah, also called on the Royal Thai Police force to dismiss their previous charges against peaceful protesters, as well as to ensure the protection of citizens and rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

This comes after several reports from protesters that the police had threatened and intimidated them and their families to not join any other rallies or movements. 

Amnesty International in its letter urged the Thai police and state to guarantee the safety and security of the demonstrators, including to refrain from prosecuting criminal proceedings against the participation and to end the threat and intimidation merely on the grounds of protesting and demonstrating their rights. 

“In the past two weeks, we’ve seen many Thai people out on the streets who have been peacefully expressing their views about what changes they expect by their government,” said Ming You Hah. 

Amnesty International is very concerned that the Royal Thai Police has been detaining some of these demonstrators and filing criminal complaints, when these individuals are simply sharing their views in public,” the deputy director told Thai Enquirer.

It is understandable and appropriate that the state and police continue to safeguard the safety of the people during the pandemic, the deputy director added, but not disproportionately to the point that it is threatening its own citizens for merely exercising their freedom of speech.

Thai Netizens have pointed to government heavy handedness when cracking down on dissent, most recently with two Rayong youth activists who were arrested for protesting.

“Amnesty International continues to be alarmed at the systematic and widespread campaign of repression by the Thai authorities to silence the voices of human rights defenders, activists, journalists and opposition politicians,” added the deputy director. “We see patterns of criminalising content critical of authorities, and the Thai government continues to persecute people simply for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

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