Watchdog records at least 79 instances of government intimidation since February

A legal and rights watchdog said this week that there have been at least 79 instances of intimidation by the state of protesters and activists since the Future Forward Party was dissolved in February.

Student-led protests have gripped the country over the past two months with students calling for a rewrite of the military-drafted constitution, the dissolution of parliament, and the end to the harassment of activists by the state.

The protests originally began in February after the dissolution of the progressive Future Forward Party but were abruptly halted due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As the pandemic subsided in Thailand, the protests have started up again – fueled by economic uncertainty and anti-government sentiment.

According to the watchdog ILaw, since the protests began, the state has been engaged in a program of intimidation and arrests with at least 79 reported instances since February.

In addition to arresting prominent protest leaders, the government have also used state security officials to harass, arbitrarily detain, and call in protesters.

According to ILaw and Thai Enquirer reports, students in the countryside face a concerted program of intimidation oftentimes involving parents, village headmen, and local security officials.

Arrests and intimidation in Bangkok are less common but faculty at universities in the capital told Thai Enquirer that the government have asked for their cooperation in identifying student leaders and keeping students away from protests.

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