date: 8/8/2023 author: mobdatathailand

An Overview Of Public Assemblies And Harassment Following The Gatherings November 2022

  • Apec

At least 65 public assemblies and expression took place in November, which is 10 times more than in October. 36 public assemblies were related to the activities to demand the right to bail of political prisoners including 27 Stand Stop Imprisonment activities by the Resistant Citizen in front of the Bangkok Supreme Court. In the province, the weekly protest by the Stand Stop Tyranny was conducted at Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai, five times altogether, the Stand Stop Imprisonment in Ayutthaya, four times.

#Monthly Report on Public Assembly, Prosecution, and Harassment regard to Freedom of Expression and Assembly in November 2022


@Faozee Lateh

#Overview Situation of Public Assembly

At least 65 public assemblies and expression took place in November, which is 10 times more than in October. 36 public assemblies were related to the activities to demand the right to bail of political prisoners including 27 Stand Stop Imprisonment activities by the Resistant Citizen in front of the Bangkok Supreme Court. In the province, the weekly protest by the Stand Stop Tyranny was conducted at Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai, five times altogether, the Stand Stop Imprisonment in Ayutthaya, four times.

Nonetheless, as during 16-19 November 2022, Thailand was hosting the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC), the meeting has galvanized protests, at least 24 times including public assemblies in various regions which can be described as follows;

Public assemblies before the APEC 2022 meeting

The North Members of the public wearing Guy Fawkes masks were holding banners to protest against APEC Meeting and hung them in various places in the city of Chiang Mai including Ang Kaew, Chiang Mai University, Maya Intersection, the Three-King Monument, and Ping River Khua Lek (Iron Bridge).

The Central Plain Greenpeace Thailand activists were holding a banner “APEC Meeting, Stop Greenwashing” and taking their photo to welcome leaders who were coming to attend the APEC Meeting demanding the genuine efforts be made to address climate change. Thalu Fah organized a caravan of Tuk Tuk to oust Prayut and stop monopolistic capitals starting from the Democracy Monument and finishing at the Victory Monument. On the back and sides of the Tuk Tuks hung the banners with photo of the Prime Minister and logo of ‘APEC meeting 2022’. Each Tuk Tuk featured unique statement on the banner, for example, Prayut Get Out, Stop Monopoly, Stop Betraying Nation, Restoring People’s Power, etc. Previously, the Thalu Fah organized an activity ‘Avatar Opposing Despotic Regime, Opposing Monopolistic Capitals’ and distributed fliers for ‘Prayut Get Out, Stop APEC2022, Why do we have to stop APEC2022’ at Siam Square. The persons distributing the fliers were clad in cosplay costume of the Na'vi character from ‘Avatar’. The Ramkhahaeng University For Democracy Network and the Sattha Tham Party, Ramkhahaeng University, organized a press conference in three languages (Thai, English and Malay) to protest against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as chairperson of the APEC meeting 2022. On the same day, several groups of activists and students including Thalu Wang, We Volunteer, Thalu Gaz, Khana Ratsadon Abolishing Section 112 and others have visited the Embassies of five nations including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA and France, respectively to submit a letter of petition. The letter described the state of human rights violations in Thailand including the weaponization of law to silence people, problems with the judicial process, the right to bail, the suppression of peaceful public assembly incompatible with international standards, and other issues. Some activists organized the activity “Journey to the West Rambling the APEC” and were clad in costumes of characters in the story to march to protest the APEC meeting 2022 while shouting “Stop APEC” in China Town. In addition, the protests were aimed at opposing the One-China Policy by the Xi Jinping government and to demand freedom for Hong Kong.

The Northeast Ratsadon Khon Chee Mun Network showed their stand against APEC2022 meeting through symbolic actions including holding signs which ready "National Betrayal Fair" and "Stop APEC" in various spots in Muang District, Nakhon Ratchasima to demand the government adhere to people-centered economic policies and to stop exploitation of natural resources by the investors. On the same day at the office of Mitr Phol Sugar in Khon Kaen, the Ratsadon Khon Chee Mun Network hung the banner "Economic Monopoly, Toxic Industry, Greenwashing Pollution" and other banners in front of Khon Kaen University and read a statement to show their stance at the Mitr Phol sugar mill as well. The Korphue Dismantling Dictatorship in Udonthani hung the banner "Economic Monopoly, Toxic Industry, Greenwashing Pollution" to protest against the APEC meeting and in response to the public statement by the Ratsadon Khon Chee Mun Network to oppose the meeting.

Public assemblies during the APEC 2022 Meeting

The North Neo Lanna organized “Ratsadon Stop APEC 2022” event at the Den Chai train station in Phrae by wearing Guy Fawkes masks and holding banners against the APEC meeting before boarding the train to participate in the public assemblies at the Lan Khon Mueang Town Square in Bangkok the same afternoon, they were holding the banners from time to time.

Central Plain On 16 November 2022, the first day of APEC 2022 Meeting, in the morning, Amnesty International Thailand has submitted a demand to the Thai government at the Government House to help stop bloodshed crackdown in Myanmar. During the handing of letter, unknown officials and plainclothes officials tried to take closeup photo and went away quickly on motorcycle without identifying themselves. In addition, the police have gone to offices of organizations in partnership with Amnesty International to inquire about organizations’ operation during the APEC Meeting. In late afternoon, a public assembly was held by Ratsadon Stop APEC2022 at the Lan Khon Mueang Town Square in Bangkok, an overnight protest. During the gathering, officials stopped the participants and asked to see their ID cards and set up checkpoints for security screening. Warinthip Watcharawongthawee was arrested pursuant to a warrant on Section 112. She was held in custody at Pracha Chuen Police Station and was released later. Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Sai Nam were asked by the police to wrap up their banners and it led to a small scuffle. Both were clad in Winnie-the-Pooh costume while holding banner to protest the APEC and the one-China policy at the Siam Kempinski Hotel.



On 17 November 2022, the Ratsadon Stop APEC 2022 continued to organize activities at the Lan Khon Mueang Town Square while spreading their members to organize events in various spots including the Mitr Phol company, the Thai Union Group, the Thai Beverage, SCG and CP. All of them were demanding the end of greenwashing the capital monopoly during the APEC. Crowd control police forces were deployed in various spots surrounding the protesting venues. Thalu Wang hand a letter titled “What Happened in Thailand” aiming to communicate with APEC leaders about human rights situation in Thailand around Asoke Intersection. They were confronted by more than two companies of the crowd-control police. Among the police officials, there were also officials in military fatigue. On the same day, Ratsadon Facebook Page reported that the Ratsadon activists tried to hang the banners “RatsadonStopPEC2022”, and “Free Trade Without People” at the Democracy Monument but the crowd control police tried to snatch their banners, seize the ladders and put the participants under arrest. It led to a scuffle being pushed and pulled and armors were pressed against the participants’ faces. The officials then took control of the area.


@Faozee Lateh On 18 November 2022, the Ratsadon Stop APEC 2022 planned to march from the Lan Khon Mueang Town Square to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) while the police forces were deployed to block access to Din Sor Road. The crackdown was subsequently launched causing 25 participants were arrested from exercising their right to freedom of assembly, including independent journalists, Buddhist monks, and core members of civil society organizations. They were later charged for an offence against the Public Assembly Act and the Penal Code’s Section 215 (being illegally assembled and causing a breach of the peace) and Section 216 (refusing to disperse when ordered so).


@Faozee Lateh During the crackdown and arrests, according to iLaw, at least 32 participants including one child and three reporters sustained injuries. 13 of them got injured during the arrests. In addition, it was reported that the police resorted to rubber bullets and batons allegedly beating the protesters. The violent crackdown caused injuries to several people including Payu Bunsophon from Dao Din who became one-sided blind. Another 17-year-old environmental defender was beaten, sexually verbally assaulted, and traumatized that she must seek professional treatment.

Prior to the protest, civil societies faced numerous offline and online monitoring, surveillance, intimidation, and harassment. For the offline intimidation and harassment, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) recorded at least 58 people facing the acts which were an act of state personnel. For online monitoring and surveillance, iLaw has recorded at least 44 people who work in civil societies receiving a message from Facebook saying “Government-backed or sophisticated attacker alerts.”

​​Regarding the police’s order and obstruction to the protest, Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party recognizes the right to freedom of peaceful assembly if the organizer has already notified the authorities and the authorities have refused to give them permission. Such public assembly can be held in line with General comment No. 37, paragraph 70, which states that “Notification systems requiring that those who intend to organize a peaceful assembly must inform the authorities in advance and provide certain salient details are permissible to the extent necessary to assist the authorities in facilitating the smooth conduct of peaceful assemblies and protecting the rights of others. At the same time, this requirement must not be misused to stifle peaceful assemblies and, as in the case of other interferences with the right, must be justifiable on the grounds listed in article 21”.

​​According to General comment No. 37 and the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, the participants should be able to gather at the distance they can get their message across to the audience. In this case, the government has imposed restriction measures invoking Section 8 (5) of the Public Assembly Act. Such legal and physical restriction imposed by the government did not show that they have made their effort to ensure and promote the achievement of the right to be heard of the participants and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

The police tried to impede the public assemblies while the participants tried to negotiate with them. During the public assemblies, the protest leaders maintained regular contact with the authorities. They have asked the police to remove the traffic barricade and vehicles from the road and told the participants to act peacefully.​

​​No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of the right of peaceful assembly other than those imposed in conformity with the law and as necessity. Similarly, such restriction must be “provided by law” as stipulated in other Articles of the Covenant. Therefore, any restriction must be made according to the law or through the exercise of administrative power as permitted by law only. Such law must be adequately clear to ensure members of the society can decide how to behave and it must not contain provisions which allow the law enforcement to use their discretion power limitlessly or excessively.

​​Therefore, the suppression of the public assemblies during the protests against APEC Summit Meeting was not carried out in line with the law. Initially, it was a denial of the right to peaceful assembly and the right to be heard. The authorities’ ultimate objectives and duties during the public assemblies are to maintain and ensure safety. Nonetheless, the action of the authorities, the disproportionate number of police, their appearance and gesture and the verbal infringement have incurred fear and posed intimidation to the participants.

On 19 November 2022, the Mok Luang Rim Nam and the Thalu Wang organized Flash Mob and conducted street pills at Siam Paragon to condemn the crowd control police for using violence to crack down on the protests while the police were trying to impede their activities.

The Northeast Following the use of violence to disperse the protests on 18 November 2022, on the same day, the activists in Khon Kaen organized Flash Mobs at a market in Khon Kaen University to call out the government which tried to stifle public participation during the APEC 2022 Meeting and the use of violence to suppress the demonstrations by the police. The police force led by the Superintendent of the Muang Khon Kaen Police Station, has made the announcement urging the protesters to act within the bound of the law.

Protests after the APEC 2022 Meeting

In the aftermath of the meeting, a series of activities were organized to call out the use of violence. Thalu Fah organized an activity to submit letter to world delegations to report on the human rights violations by the state to the delegations attending the APEC Meeting. The participants planned to meet at the Ploenchit BTS Station and then walk to six embassies. Along the way, they shouted ‘Bloody APEC, PrayutOut!’. After handing letter to the Embassies, they have gone to hand another letter to the United Nations.The Ratsadon Stop APEC 2022 Chiang Mai were gathered to hand a letter to the US diplomat at the Chiang Mai Consulate to demand the police be held accountable for using violence to disperse the protests against APEC.

In addition to the demand for the authorities to be held accountable for the disperse of protests, the Centre of the People for the Protection of Monarchy, the Center of Legal Assistance for Victims of Cyberbullying (BULLY) and the Black Warriors have gone to submit a letter to the Minister of Interior urging them to conduct an inquiry on Chatchat Sitthiphan, Bangkok Governor, for allowing the protesters against the APEC Meeting 2022 to use the Lan Khon Mueang Town Square.

At least two public assemblies were held on labour rights issues. More than 500 members of the Thai Rider Association were gathered in front of the CentralWorld Department Store and then marched to their headquarters in Thanapoom Tower on New Petchaburi Rd to demand a revision of the unfair quota system which had led to a decline of their income. A group of taxi drivers were gathered at the Ministry of Transport to demand a fare raise.

At least one activity was held on monarchy issue. Korat Movement were held in custody by the police while trying to hold the banner “Free Our Friends” and “We All Are Equal” during the arrival of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s motorcade in Nakhon Ratchasima, before being released. They were followed afterward while going out for business. According to the activists, surveillance cameras were installed around their residence and plainclothes police were keeping a watch around their residence since 6 November 2022. Regarding the drive to oust the government, five members of the Ratsadon Chiang Rai held a sign “Today, You Look Really Smart, Today, You Look Too Smart” to greet Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Chiang Rai Airport. They were, however, charged by the police for a breach of the peace in public way and fined 500 baht each. In addition, a public gathering was held to show solidarity to lecturers and students who went to answer to the charge at the Bhubing Rajanives Police Station in the case involving the severing of chains to restore access to the Chiang Mai University Art Center in 2021. Some students had an art performance before the intervention of the police who tried to grab their banners and to prevent them from organizing an activity inside a government office. At least one participant sustained minor injury on their hip. In this month, the Centre of the People for the Protection of Monarchy, the Center of Legal Assistance for Victims of Cyberbullying (BULLY) and the Black Warriors have gone to the Ministry of Labour to submit a letter urging the Minister to revoke the permit of Amnesty International Thailand accusing them of interfering with domestic affairs.

#Update on legal cases as of November 2022

Since the Free Youth led public assemblies on 18 July 2020 until 30 November 2022, at least 1,886 individuals have been charged for participating in public assemblies or expressing their political opinions in 1,159 cases. Of this, 283 are youth under 18 years of age in 210 cases. Compared with October 2022, 22 more individuals have been charged in 14 new cases (counting only those who have never been charged before.) Altogether, there have been at least 3,753 legal actions against the individuals although some of them are charged for multiple offences.

Detail of key offences can be described as follows;

1. “Lese majeste” offence pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section112, at least 221 suspects in 239 cases

2. Sedition pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section116, at least 128 suspects in 40 cases

3. An offence against the Emergency Decree, at least 1,469 suspects in 663 cases (since May 2020)

4. An offence against the Public Assembly Act, at least 132 suspects in 76 cases

5. An offence against the Computer Crimes Act, at least 156 suspects in 176 cases

6. A contempt of court, at least 36 suspects in 20 cases, and insult of the court, at least 27 suspects in 8 cases

Following 1,159 cases, 279 have reached their final verdicts, many of which were petty offences settled by paying fine to the police or the court. The public prosecutor also decided to not prosecute 38 cases while 880 cases are still under investigation.

Prosecution during the APEC Meeting

During 16-19 November 2022, Thailand was hosting the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (APEC 2022) at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC). During the meeting, the Ratsadon Stop APEC2022 planned to march from the Lan Khon Mueang Town Square to the QSNCC to submit a letter of petition against the APEC 2022 Meeting on 18 November 2022. The police force was deployed to block access to Din Sor Road. The police subsequently used force to carry out the arrest in two times putting altogether 26 individuals under arrest including five women, 21 men including one Buddhist monk, six students, one independent media. One person, Payu Bunsophon, sustained severe eye injuries and had to be operated at hospital after being fired with rubber bullets at his right eye causing the total fracture of his eye. There was only 1% possibility of restoring his vision.

The 25 suspects were pressed with three charges including;

1. Ten persons upwards being assembled together do or threaten to do an act of violence, or do anything to cause a breach of the peace (Penal Code’s Section 215)

2. Not to disperse when ordered by competent officials (Penal Code’s Section 216)

3. Not complying with the condition or order imposed by the surveillant officer and failing to make correction within the period as imposed by the surveillant officer (Public Assembly Act)

The 25 suspects all pled not guilty. Some reported that they had sustained injuries inflicted by the police.

After being held in custody at the Thung Song Hong Police Station for more than 12 hours, on 19 Nov 2022, the 25 suspects were allowed to post bail by placing cash 20,000 baht each as surety, altogether 500,000 baht. They were also subjected to two conditions including being barred from participating in any political activity during the provisional release and being barred from inviting other persons to participate in any illegal assembly or to commit a a breach of the peace. As to Payu Bunsophon who had to undergo eye and face surgeries at the Police General Hospital, the inquiry officials are yet to take any action.

Following the incidence, public statements have been issued to condemn the use of violence by the public officials during the crackdown on 18 November 2022 by various human rights organizations including the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), the Amnesty International, and the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights (TANC) In addition, Anon Nampha and his attorneys have reported the case at the Samranrat Police Station against the police officials at all levels who were involved with the incidence. The Human Rights Lawyers Alliance has also filed a request with the Civil Court to summon representatives from the Royal Thai Police to a hearing regarding this case and the Court agreed to issue such summons. The police were also asked to submit their documents describing the forces and weapons used including names of the crowd control police who acted unlawfully within 17 January 2023.

#Individuals remanded in custody

In November, Pornchai Yuanyee, Sinburi Saengkla and Micky Bang were provisionally released. They are accused of setting fire on the arch in honor of the King and traffic box in front of Ratwinit Secondary School while participating in the assembly on the 15th anniversary of the military coup on 19 September 2021. Meanwhile, Thatpong Thiankhao is remanded in custody pursuant to the arrest warrant by the Criminal Court for participating in the Thalu Gaz’s demonstration on Ratchaprarop Rd. on 21 November 2021 and Chiratchaya Sakulthong is also remanded in custody**,** following her speech to criticize the Court. As of this month, 10 individuals are still remanded in custody as follows.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled this month to uphold the Appeals Court’s verdict to convict and sentence Kritsana and Wannapa to three years of imprisonment for being members of criminal associations as they have been accused of mobilizing to raise unrest among members of the Organization For a Thai Federation and general public through their distribution of fliers and selling T-shirts with emblem of the Organization For a Thai Federation during 8 June – 12 Sept 2018. As a result, as of this month, the number of convicted prisoners is six including Anchan (Section112), Suppakorn (Computer Crime Act), “Ma” Nutchanon, Corporal “Methin” (Section 112), Kritsana and Wannapa (Organization For a Thai Federation case, being members of criminal associations)

It should be noted that that the right to bail is a fundamental right based on the principle of presumption of innocence. It is enshrined in international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)’s Article 11 (1) which states that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense, and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)’s Article 14(2) which states that everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. Thailand has acceded to ICCPR since 29 October 1996, and it came into force for us since 30 January 1997.

In addition, Section 29, second paragraph, of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 2017 states that a suspect or defendant in a criminal case shall be presumed innocent, and before the passing of a final judgment convicting a person of having committed an offence, such person shall not be treated as a convict, and its third paragraph states that custody or detention of a suspect or a defendant shall only be undertaken as necessary to prevent such person from escaping. Meanwhile, Section 108/1 of the Criminal Procedure Code prescribes that the detail of bail can only be justified in the following cases “(1) the accused or defendant may abscond, (2) the accused or defendant may tamper with evidence, (3) the accused or defendant may cause another danger, (4) the applicant or his bail or security is unreliable, and (5) the provisional release would impede or imperil an official inquiry or judicial trial. An order dismissing an application for provisional release must contain the grounds therefor. Moreover, the accused or defendant and the applicant shall be informed of the dismissal in writing without delay. "

Harassment against the public in November 2022

November’s incidences of harassment against the public have soared compared to October when Thailand was hosting the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) during 16-19 November 2022.

At least 58 incidences of public harassment were reported against the activists countrywide aiming to disrupt any protest during the meeting. As a result, at least 65 individuals were subjected to harassment in various forms which can be described below.

Harassment due to the visit of VIP persons

1. Members of the royal family

Four activists of KoratMovement were charged by plainclothes officials while holding signs “Free Our Friends” and “We All Are Equal” in front of Boon Wattana School just before the arrival of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s motorcade. In addition, plainclothes police were trying to hold in custody one activist claiming the person would be taken to see the Superintendent of the Muang Nakhon Ratchasima Police Station. Scuffle ensured until the activists who were holding the signs fell to the ground upon the arrival of the motorcade. On their way back after the activity, the activists noticed that they were followed by the police’s trucks and motorcycles. One activist reported that their motorcycle was seized and taken to the Muang Nakhon Ratchasima Police Station as the police claimed to need to verify its ownership.

2. The Prime Minister

Ear, 14-year-old-activist, was taken by the police to the Nang Lerng Police Station when he was holding a sign with message for PM Prayut right by the Government House. Even before he put out his sign, the police had him in a chokehold, subduing him, locking his legs, pushing down his stomach and brought him into police vehicle. According to Ear, upon his arrival at the Nang Lerng Police Station, the police did not prepare any memo of arrest and simply let him go. He sustained some bruises on his wrists following the police custody and felt the pain on his stomach due to the push.

3. Other prominent figures

As Thailand was hosting the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) during 16-19 November 2022, efforts were ramped up to stifle any protest by the public who did not agree with the meeting starting from surveillance and harassment against activists countrywide. There have been reports of harassment in at least 22 provinces. Such harassment has begun since October 2022. At least three former members of NU-movement received calls from the police who inquired about their activities during the APEC meeting. Some were told to refrain from getting involved with such protest. In addition, one person subject to the harassment reveals that the police called his office to ask for his information. Another individual reveals that calls have been made to ask for his information from his family members. One student who used to be active in Phitsanulok was approached by the police at his dormitory to ask for his personal information.

Late October in Chiang Mai, some official called Chartchai Thammo to ask for information and plainclothes officials have even gone to see him at his office. Two members of the Northern Peasant Federation (NPF) in Lamphun were approached by the police at their homes to ask for information and to take photo of their activities. Human rights defenders of Wanon Niwat Conservation Group in Sakon Nakhon were summoned for a meeting at the Village Headman’s resident by the Special Branch police in the evening. They were asked about their legal cases and any potential activities to protest against Potash mining which was presumably related to the APEC meeting.

As the APEC meeting was about to take place, there were reports of harassment against the public in various areas. In the North, the Northern Peasant Federation (NPF) and the Network of People Affected by Mining reported that the police called them to ask about their movement, their locations, or visited them at home to ask for information in nearly all provinces. Phachara Khamchamnan reported that the police called him and has gone to see him at his office in Chiang Mai. The officials appeared to have information of his flight detail and have even asked why he has to travel often. Meanwhile, members of the Rak Ban Haeng in Lampang were informed by the police that their police commanders wanted to have a meeting with them. Local administration officials have also pressured the people to prevent them from participating in any demonstration and threatened that they could be arrested for doing so. Phinit Thongkham was constantly monitored by the police in Lampang even when he was travelling to Bangkok for some business, the police asked to have a ride with him and to take his photos. Several activists including the Red Shirts in Chiang Mai were asked for a meeting by the police at a coffee place closer to the APEC meeting. The officials asked about their participation in the protests during the APEC meeting and asked for taking their photos to prepare their reports. In addition, it has been reported that the police have visited Crew Bar of local activists in Chiang Mai claiming due the reported loss of motorcycle, they needed to take a look at the license plates of the motorcycles there.

Meanwhile, several core members of the Assembly of the Poor in various provinces were approached by the officials including those at Pak Moon Dam, villagers in Phathalung, Lopburi and Phrae, particularly during the few days before the Meeting. The officials were trying to inquire them about their potential movement during the APEC meeting, their itinerary, for the villagers from Nakhon Sawan, Chumphon and Trang. Some have received several such phone calls.

In the South, Prasit Numuan said that officials from various agencies have called him at home to ask for his information even though he has been staying sick at home. Since the authorities did not coordinate, they repeatedly called him. Romli Kuno was taken by the officials to a hospital for DNA testing, and then to Taskforce 46, Khao Tanyong, Muang District, Narathiwat as he was suspected of plotting a sabotage to compromise national security during the APEC meeting. Hafis Yako said that plainclothes officials have gone to his home in Narathiwat to ask for information and take photos to report his movement every day during the APEC meeting. A member of the Phathalung Peasant Netework was inquired by four plainclothes police officials at home about his possible movement.

The authorities also monitored movement of political groups including their attempt to make any banner or to express themselves. The premises of activists from Thalu Fah was raided by ten uniform and plainclothes police officials while they were making signs for social campaign. The search was carried out without warrant and the police simply claimed they were chasing an offender. Gap, one of the 14 core members of the Ratsadon, was intercepted at checkpoint in front of his home before the meeting. The police have gone to search his home and seized a banner written with “Anti Chinazi” claiming it might affect international relations. They even threatened that if Gap did not concede the banners, they would look into footage of surveillance cameras to see where he had been before. In addition, the police prepared a daily record with his personal information.

Dormitory of three Muslim students from Ramkhahaeng University was raided and they were held in custody morning of 16 Nov 2022 without warrant. No illegal objects were found there after all. And without arrest warrants, they were taken for an inquiry at the Hua Mak Police Station. The officials claimed they were probably involved with a possible sabotage act during the APEC meeting. In addition, the officials seized their communication devices and computer for investigation without warrant before releasing them without charges.

Activists or members of the public who participated in the #Ratsadon ProtestingAPEC2022 events had been subjected to interception and surveillance during their travel. Members of the Northern NGO Coordinating Committee who travelled to Bangkok by train were subjected to close surveillance by the authorities. They have approached the members and taken photo of every single one of them during their travel. Vehicles of activists of the Ratsadon Khon Chee Mun from the Northeast were constantly intercepted by the police while travelling from Khon Kaen to Bangkok. Officials at every checkpoint kept asking to see ID cards of the activists and took photo of them. They even asked to search the baggage of the activists claiming the need of narcotic and arms search.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Tuk Tuk drivers in Bangkok who drove for the Thalu Fah activists during their #OustingPrayutStoppingMonopoly campaign were summoned for an inquiry by the police at the police stations without issuing proper summons. In addition, it has been reported that one of the individuals arrested from the public assembly on 18 Nov 2022 was followed by a suspicious person on their way home after being allowed to post bail.

Political activists asides, Director of Amnesty International Thailand received a series of phone calls the couple of weeks before the meeting. The callers claimed to be public officials who wanted to know if there was any planned action during the APEC meeting. They even called to threaten her family. On 10 November 2022, police officials have again visited the Director to ask about any action during the APEC meeting.

As to online surveillance, according iLaw during 16-17 November 2022, 44 activists, lawyers, civil society activists, environmental activists and Thai political exiles were notified by Facebook about “a warning of attack sponsored by the government or sophisticated attackers.” It should be noted that several activists of national and international nonprofit organizations have received such notifications including five human rights lawyers.

Harassment Trend in December 2022

The significant reasons prompting such public harassment appear to be related to the visits of prominent persons to local area, not limited to just members of the royal family. This circumstance shows the shrinking of civic space to exercise of freedom of expression and assembly in Thailand. Any political activities including ones with many participants, or ones with people holding some paper could possibly result in being held in custody. The authorities are subject to exercise their power to deprive people’s rights and freedoms to ensure public order and national security.

This could result on the harassment trend in December which tends to be increasing and escalating toward more violence. Any political activities by even small groups or even by one single person could be subjected to surveillance by the authorities, particularly during the visits of prominent figures.

According to the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders”), Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms pursuant to its article 1. It also recognizes that individuals or groups have the right to carry out their human rights activities peacefully without any fear or without being retaliated pursuant to Articles 5. Coherent to Article 4, human rights defenders shall have their civil and political rights protected according to the ICCPR and the state shall use any measure necessary to protect an individual from the violation of their rights as a result of the activities according to Articles 2 and 15. In light of what happened to the civil society and the activists, it appears the Thai state has failed to ensure a safe and enabling environment for the implementation of human rights activities. On the contrary, civil society has reported that the authorities have followed, conducted surveillance, harassed, and threatened human rights defenders and protesters constantly.