BFF-03 More than 20 protesters arrested in Thailand

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BFF-03

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More than 20 protesters arrested in Thailand

BANGKOK, Oct 15, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Thai police arrested more than 20 people
under sweeping new emergency measures Thursday, with pro-democracy activists
reporting a handful of high-profile leaders were among those detained.

The arrests came after thousands gathered in Bangkok, including on the
route of a royal motorcade, with many raising a defiant three-fingers.

The salute, borrowed from the “Hunger Games” books and films, has been
harnessed by the youth-led movement as a symbol calling for democratic
changes.

Some protesters have also demanded reforms to the kingdom’s monarchy — a
once-taboo issue because of stringent royal defamation laws.

The anti-government demonstration continued through the night and before
dawn Thursday authorities issued an emergency decree banning gatherings of
more than four people.

“More than 20 people were arrested,” deputy police spokesman Kissana
Phathanacharoen said.

Kissana added that student leaders issuing calls to gather for a fresh
protest on Thursday “are committing wrongdoings”.

Moments before her own arrest was livestreamed, prominent student leader
Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul said human rights lawyer Anon Numpa and student
leader Parit Chiwarak, better known as “Penguin”, were among those detained.

The new measures — which extend the scope of a state of emergency imposed
on Thailand to control the coronavirus pandemic — allow police to arrest
those involved in the protests, according to a government statement.

They also outlaw online posts deemed a threat to national security and
give powers to authorities to seize “electronic communications equipment,
data, and weapons suspected to cause the emergency situation”.

BSS/AFP/RY/09:10hrs