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The Metropolitan Police have declared a no-protest zone within a 50-metre radius around the parliament complex from 3 – 6 July, while the new parliament is in session and voting for House Speaker and Deputy Speakers.

An order issued by the Metropolitan Police dated 29 June 2023 was published today (3 July) by several online media agencies. It says that the Metropolitan Police will prohibit public gatherings within a 50-metre radius around the parliament complex from 3 – 6 July 2023, because Metropolitan Police Region 1 has found that there are likely to be several protests while the new parliament is in its first session and voting for House Speaker and Deputy Speakers. Public gatherings will therefore not be allowed in the area from 6.00 on Monday (3 July) to midnight on Thursday (6 July).

A memorandum issued by the Metropolitan Police was also released on Sunday (2 July), showing that the police are preparing to use Thung Song Hong, Chalong Krung, and Chorakhaenoi police stations as temporary detention facilities, as they are anticipating violent protests in Bangkok and thepotential arrest of protesters. The arrangement will be effective from 1-31 July 2023 or until the mission is completed.

However, Pol Col Wichai Daengpradap, Deputy Commander of the Metropolitan Police’s Investigation Division, said that such memoranda are regularly issued, and that memoranda on the use of the three police stations are issued monthly to avoid legality issues concerning the detention of protesters at these facilities.

Meanwhile, the new parliament opened its first session yesterday (3 July) in a ceremony presided over by King Vajiralongkorn. New MPs were sworn in this morning (4 July). Parliament subsequently named Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, leader of the Prachachart Party, as House Speaker, as no other candidate was put forward. Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP Pichet Chuamuangphan was named Second Deputy Speaker.

Move Forward Party MP Padipat Suntipada won the vote against Vittaya Kaewparadai from the United Thai Nation Party and was named First Deputy Speaker with 312 votes to 105 votes.

A group of Move Forward Party supporters gathering by the entrance to parliament earlier this afternon were asked by the police to move due to the no-protest zone. Following a short negotiation, they moved to a nearby public park, while a unit of crowd control police were stationed at the parliament entrance. 

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