Protesters take to social media to ask about missing friends after government crackdown on demonstrations

Following a government crackdown on student-led anti-government demonstrators on Friday, friends and family of protest-goers have taken to social media to find the wherabouts of missing dissidents.

According to several rights groups, security forces may have arrested up to 100 demonstrators for violating the government’s emergency decreee.

Many were arrested at the crackdown including a Prachathai reporter and protest leader Tattep Ruangprapaikijseree. Others were arrested after the police dispersed unarmed protesters with batons, riot shields, and water cannons.

The government and police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told reporters after the crackdown that the police were carrying out all measures in accordance with the law. Krissana has said previously that demonstrators at the protest site or even advocating online for a protest could face jail time.

Concerned friends and family used the hashtag #16ตุลาเราตามหาคน (16 October we are looking for someone) to express concern or show solidarity with arrested or missing dissidents.

At the time of writing, the post had already garnered more than 100,000 posts on Twitter.

Emergency Decree

A new emergency decree, imposed by the government after the protests on Wednesday, allows the suspension of habeas corpus, imprisonment of anyone for up to 30 days without charge, the censoring of the free press and a ban on public gatherings.

It was introduced, by the Prayut Chan-ocha government, to deal with protesters after a confrontation between demonstrators and a royal motorcade – something the prime minister said was unacceptable.

Despite the ban on public gatherings, over 10,000 people rallied in downtown Bangkok on Thursday to protest the arrest of student protest-leaders by the government, thousands more gathered in Bangkok on Friday before the crackdown by the government.

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