Thailand declares state of severe emergency
Obstruction of royal motorcade and threat to national security cited
/NOVOSTIVL/ Thailand announced an emergency decree early Thursday after thousands of demonstrators massed around the Government House, the seat of government, in Bangkok.
"Many people have instigated and mobilized illegal public gatherings in Bangkok with many ways and channels that caused chaos and disorder. There was conduct that affected the royal motorcade, and there was reason to believe there was violent conduct that affected state security, safety in life or assets of the people and state. This was not a peaceful gathering endorsed by the constitution. It also directly affects the control of COVID-19, which directly affects the vulnerable economy of the nation. It is very important to have urgent measures to fix this and halt this conduct effectively so the law is respected and the public is in order. Therefore, following Section 5 and Section 11 of the emergency decree, the prime minister has declared a state of severe emergency on Oct. 15 from 4 a.m. onward."
Under measures that took effect from 4 a.m. local time, authorities have the power to ban people from entering any area they designate.
It also bars the "publication of news, other media, and electronic information that contains messages that could create fear or intentionally distort information, creating misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order."
Protesters have called for the ouster of junta leader-turned-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as well as a new constitution. They have also called for reforms to the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
A royal motorcade carrying Queen Suthida had earlier encountered demonstrators, who flashed three-finger salutes. She smiled and waved back. The king's motorcade later passed along the road without incident on his way to a ceremony at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha near the Grand Palace.
State television said: "As it appears that many groups of people have invited and incited illegal public assemblies in Bangkok... acted to affect the royal motorcade and committed severe actions that affected national security... it is extremely necessary to introduce an urgent measure to end this situation effectively and promptly to maintain peace and order".