Thailand bans protests, news that "could create fear"

Thailand woke up to a government ban on both protests and the publication of sensitive news on Thursday (October 15) as emergency measures took effect at 4a.m.

It follows an escalation in protests that have targeted King Maha Vajiralongkorn as well as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan'ocha.

The government has justified the order citing the obstruction of a royal motorcade as well as the coronavirus, growing disorder and economic damage.

Thousands of anti-government protesters marched to Government House on Wednesday, calling for a new constitution and for Prayuth to resign, saying he manipulated an election last year -- accusations which he says are untrue.

As the emergency measures kicked in, riot police moved in on protesters camped outside Prayuth's office.

Police said they had arrested about 20 people who refused to cooperate, including two of the protest leaders most critical of the monarchy; Parit Chirawat known as "Penguin" and human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa.

The ban also includes publishing news or online information that quote "could create fear" or "affect national security."

The protests that have continued for three months have put the greatest pressure in years on an establishment long dominated by the army and the palace.

Video Transcript

- Thailand woke up to a government ban on both protests and the publication of sensitive news on Thursday, as emergency measures took effect at 4:00 AM. It follows an escalation in protests that had targeted King Maha Vajiralongkorn, as well as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan'ocha. The government has justified the order, citing the obstruction of a royal motorcade, as well as the coronavirus, growing disorder, and economic damage.

[CHANTING]

Thousands of anti-government protesters marched to Government House on Wednesday, calling for a new Constitution and for Prayuth to resign, saying he manipulated an election last year, accusations which he says are untrue.

As the emergency measures kicked in, riot police moved in on protesters camped outside Prayuth's office. Police said they had arrested about 20 people who refused to cooperate, including two of the protest leaders, Parit Chiwarak, known as Penguin, and human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa.

The ban also includes publishing news or online information that, quote, "could create fear or affect national security." The protests that have continued for three months have put the greatest pressure in years on an establishment long dominated by the Army and the palace.

[CROWD SOUNDS]