People march and file a lawsuit against the Emergency Decree

From a subway station to a court then a police station, the People GO Network led a public march on 9 July, filed a lawsuit, hosted a parade and accompanied four activists to answer summonses for violating the Emergency Decree.

On 9 July, the People GO Network, a group of civil society organizations and people affected by the Emergency Decree gathered at 9:00 at Exit 4 of Lat Phrao MRT station before setting off from the station to the Civil Court at 9:30.

Around 50 people joined in the march, including four activists who had received police summons for violating the Emergency Decree. Participants held signs with messages such as “Time is up for strong medicine,” “Emergency Decree solves problems or creates problems?” and “Stop citing the pandemic to shut people’s mouths.”

“Lift the Emergency Decree now,” protesters chanted while marching.

Today’s demonstration problematizes the use of Emergency Decree. For example, the Prime Minister holds the sole authority to issue orders, and many working-class people cannot earn money as they have to stop working. People who wish to express their dissent and call for justice have been prevented from assembling by the police.

Police reported that 40 investigative and traffic officers from Phahonyothin Police Station facilitated the march and the traffic. Apart from taking photos, police officers did not appear to intervene in the march.

Prior to the march, it was reported that Phahonyothin Police had tried to stop the activity by citing the Emergency Degree as it was considered a large gathering.

At 9:50, the march arrived at the Civil Court. Five representatives of those affected by the Decree filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha calling for the lifting of the Emergency Decree which he imposed in March and extended three times despite zero domestic Covid-19 infections for over a month.

The Civil Court scheduled an emergency hearing on the case on the same day at 13:30. Nimit Tienudom, Director of the Aids Access Foundation and one of the five plaintiffs, presented the case in the court that afternoon. The judicial order will be announced on 10 July at 13:30.

At around 11:20, the protesters regrouped at Lat Phrao MRT station to organize a parade to Wangthonglang Police Station to show support for the four members of Coordinating Committee on Development (COD) who had been summoned on Emergency Decree charges for attending a demonstration in front of the Cambodian Embassy calling for progress in the disappearance of activist in exile Wanchalerm Satsaksit

Arriving at 12:30, the demonstrators were prevented from gathering in front of the police station, despite having informed the police of their schedule, by tactical police practice taking place at the same time

Following negotiations, they were allowed only limited space to hold the gatherings. Their truck was at first not allowed in front of the station but later was allowed to park.

The four accused announced the reasons why they were summoned and why the Decree is not necessary. They tore up copies of the Emergency Decree and threw them in a trash can before entering the police station.

They listened to the allegations and rejected them all. They will submit a clarification letter within 20 days. Police then will file the case with the prosecutor within 30 days.

Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”