Thailand week in review: The top five national stories in Thailand for the last week

PHOTO: Thansettakij

Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, October 12th to the 18th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.

PHOTO: iLaw

1. Mass pro-democracy protest, counter-protests, and rally in Bangkok updates and coverage here

This pro-democracy demonstration on October 14 was considered the latest and most socially-controversial protest arranged by prominent protest leaders before they were arrested on the following day. The rally was held at Democracy Avenue where a massive group of royalists has also occupied the area across the street to pay respect to the Royal families. The intense and controversial confrontation occurred when a Royal motorcade had passed both groups of royalists and pro-democracy supporters, leading to the announcement of a severe state of emergency.

Mass pro-democracy protest, counter protests and rally in Bangkok updates and coverage here

2. Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok initially implemented for a month to maintain peace and order, Thailand’s Prime Minister says today

Following the political uprising in Bangkok, the Thai government under Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O’Cha had declared a severe state of emergency in the early hours of October 15. The new emergency situation prohibits social gatherings of more than 5 people in Bangkok as well as the publication of media that could create a misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order. Recently, many protesters and their leaders were detained as well as four digital media agencies were suspended from live broadcasting under the new emergency decree. According to the Prime Minister, the notification will be implemented for at least 30 days, until mid-November.

Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok initially implemented for a month to maintain peace and order, Thailand’s Prime Minister says today

3. First batch of 120 special visa tourists from China to travel to Bangkok next Tuesday, Suvarnabhumi GM confirms

Despite the social and political instability in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and the Suvarnabhumi Airport are preparing to welcome the first 120 Chinese tourists from the Special Tourist Visa program (STV) from Guangzhou under strict health measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus this Tuesday, October 20. The visitors are required to have Covid-19 test screenings using the RT-PCS method before being taken to alternative state quarantine accommodations where they will be state quarantined for 14 days. The group, however, is not the same batch of Chinese tourists who had postponed their arrival in Phuket on October 8.

First batch of 120 special visa tourists from China to travel to Bangkok next Tuesday, Suvarnabhumi GM confirms

4. Thai police break up pro-democracy demonstration in central Bangkok as protesters claim action was unwarranted

As the political tension between Thailand’s military-based government and pro-democracy demonstrators rose, a police dispersal, therefore, occurred on the night of October 16 in an attempt to crack down on a massive demonstration which occupied the Pathumwan intersection. Riot police had used high-pressure water cannons dyed with blue colors and allegedly laced with chemicals to disperse unarmed protesters before gradually charging at the crowd and taking over the intersection. The police had followed the group to eventually get them to disperse around 10:00 PM and arrested some of the reporters and protesters to be detainee at Pathum Thani prison. Many of them were bailed out on the following days after interrogations. Several protesters and police officers were also reportedly injured and treated at Bangkok hospitals after the incident. According to the Royal Thai Police, the breakup procedure was acted accordingly with an international standard. Many human rights groups and activists, however, disagreed.

Thai police break up pro-democracy demonstration in central Bangkok as protesters claim action was unwarranted

5. Recap: Pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok arranged peaceful flash mobs in 4 major locations in Bangkok yesterday following outrage against government response to protests on prior days

Massive crowds of pro-democracy protesters continued to ignore the severe emergency decree and gathered in four major locations in Bangkok to show their outrage against police action to disperse unarmed and peaceful protesters. The news of spontaneous protest sites spread quickly through social media platforms before the locations had largely and nimbly been occupied by thousands of protesters, particularly in the Ladprao intersection. The rallies were considered by protesters as a leaderless and organic protest since all of their leaders had been arrested under the severe state of emergency. They still assembled as peaceful and unarmed social gatherings for 5 hours without police intervention.

Recap: Pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok arranged peaceful flash mobs in 4 major locations in Bangkok yesterday following outrage against government response to protests on prior days

That is all for this week, thank you as always for reading the Pattaya/TPN National News!

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