Thai groups rally against moves to regulate NGOs, basic civil rights
Dozens of protesters from different groups gathered outside Government House on Tuesday morning to demand that moves to regulate NGOs and laws preventing people assemblies be dropped.
The protesters started their march at 8.30am from outside the UN building on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road before walking towards the Nang Loeng intersection and heading to Government House.
The rally was led by Lertsak Khamkongsak, leader of the Commoner Party, and Somboon Khamhaeng, an activist from the South. Representatives from many groups joined the protest, including members of the Constitution Advocacy Alliance, the EnLaw Thai Foundation, and the Four Regions Slum Dwellers Network.
The protest was labelled “eight years of the National Council for Peace and Order, we must stop it from expanding power”, and the demand was that the government drop plans to enact a law that regulates non-governmental organisations.
The draft law is in the process of entering the public-hearing stage.
The protesters also expressed opposition to existing laws that restrict people’s right to gather in public places and restrict their freedom of expression.
Police put up barriers to block the group from getting close to Government House, but the protesters successfully removed the barriers and gathered at the Chamai Maruchet Bridge, opposite the Government House complex.
When the protesters demanded that a government representative come out to receive their points of demand, PM’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai stepped out to take their letter.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Bureau deployed two companies of police officers and two companies of commandos, as well as two trucks armed with water cannons on standby near the rally site.