date: 8/8/2023 author: Faozee Lateh

An Overview Of Public Assemblies And Harassment Following The Gatherings February 2023


Monthly Report on Public Assembly, Prosecution, and Harassment regard to Freedom of Expression and Assembly in February 2023

Overview Situation of Public Assembly

February saw at least 78 public assemblies nationwide despite the Courts have provisionally released 15 political prisoners. The remaining detainees include Kathathon who was accused of having in possession explosive and has been remanded in custody since 11 April 2022 for more than 300 days and his right to bail has consistently denied. The Court also convicted and sentenced Theeranai and Chaiphon to imprisonment. They were members of the Thalu Gaz who were intercepted a checkpoint before the Mob29August21 protest and found to have in possession Ping Pong explosive. They were thus charged for having in possession explosive. Given their guilty plea, the Lower Court has convicted them and sentenced them to six years of imprisonment, although it was reduced to three years. Both have been remanded in custody since 15 Feb 2022 and have been denied bail.

Since the Courts have yet to restore the right to bail of all political prisoners**, Tantawan Tuatulanon** and Bam Orawan (last name withheld) insisted on continuing their dry fasting hunger strike, albeit they have moved their protesting site from the Thammasat Hospital to in front of the Supreme Court. This has escalated the campaign to demand the right to bail of political prisoners to the next level. This month saw at least 53 public assemblies held on the issue including at least 37 Stand Stop Imprisonment activities in Bangkok and metropolitan by various political groups including the Resistant Citizen which organized 29 Stand Stop Imprisonment gatherings in front of the Supreme Court. It prompted the authorities to issue at least two orders for them to rectify their gatherings, otherwise they could face a crackdown. Six public assemblies were organized by the Thalu Fah, once by the Thalu Gas and once by the Labor Network for People’s Rights. The Stand Stop Tyranny was conducted at Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai for at least 14 times. The Stand Stop Imprisonment activities asides, a series of activities have been held to demand right to bail including at least two events. The first one was Public Discussion in response to the demands of Tawan-Bam: The path toward the reform of Thailand’s judiciary organized by various human rights and pro-democracy organizations to demand the judiciary reform and to restore the right to bail of detainees as well as to demand more lenient bail requirements. In Chiang Mai, the Lan Yim Theater organized the Drawing Hope activity inviting people to draw pictures to show their solidarity with Tawan-Bam and other political prisoners who remained in jail unfairly.

While Tantawan and Bam were camping out in front of the Supreme Court, unknown persons appeared to try to harass them at night and to terrify other supporters who were camping out with them at the exit. Their sit-in protest has caused inconvenience to the public and the officials who need to enter and exit the Supreme Court, both have thus decided to send their representatives to submit a letter to the President of the Supreme Court asking for a permission to camp out inside in front of the monument of Prince Ratchaburidirekrit at the Supreme Court building in the North and asking for the use of water and utilities as well as emergency equipment.

At least 13 activities were held on the second most popular issue, the unfair transfer of government official, the case of Dr Suphat Hasuwankit. Ten of them were held by the Friends of Dr. Suphat Alliance including various activities such as the overnight sit-in protest inside the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi during 6-15 February 2023. During their protest, the authorities made at least two announcements for them to vacate the area. They have also handed letters to protest the transfer of Dr. Suphat at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi as well. It was reported that the officials have shut down the Ministry’s gates to prevent them from coming inside to hand the letter. They have handed letters to the Parliament and the government as well. Apart from that, symbolic actions have been held including hanging bananas in front of the Office of Public Health Region 12, the MoPH in Songkhla,distributing fliers in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) during which the police informed the participants that they had to stay put and that their gathering was unlawful since no prior notification had been made. In addition, public discussions and wreath laying were held in front of the office of the Bhumjaithai Party, held in collaboration with the Ramkhahaeng for Democracy. In addition, in Songkhla, students of the Conservation Club, the Prince of Songkla University organized a symbolic action and read a statement accusing that the transfer of Dr. Suphat was akin to the abuse of power. Lecturers in PSU have issued a public statement to show their solidarity with Dr. Suphat as well.

The demand for legal reform has triggered at least six public assemblies. The Government Employee Union of Thailand handed a letter of petition at the Ministry of Public Health to urge the government to respond to their six demands regarding welfare of employees and staff of the Ministry of Public Health.

Yok, a 14-year-old girl, became the youngest person ever in Thailand to be summoned to answer to Section 112 charges. She read out a public statement on how Section 112 has been used by Thailand to restrict rights and freedoms of children and youth. She also blew her birthday cake and tore up the police summons in front of the United Nations Headquarters as a symbolic action visible to international community.The Stateless Activists conducted a street poll asking people “Do you think stateless people should have the right to vote?” at the Tha Phae Gate and Angkaew Reservoir in Chiang Mai. In February, the cabinet approved the draft Emergency Decree for the amendment of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance B.E. 2565, amend the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance which was supposed to come into force on 22 Feb 2023. The Emergency Decree would procrastinate the enforcement of Sections 22, 23, 24 and 25 which are related to the execution of duties of police officials during the search, arrest, detention and imprisonment to prevent them from abusing their power. This has prompted various civil society organizations to submit letters to oppose the cabinet resolution to approve the Emergency Decree at the Government House. Amnesty International Thailand has submitted our demands to the Ministry of Justice to urge the enforcement of the Torture Act according to the original timeline.

At least two commemoration activities were held. The Bright Future organized an activity to mark the second anniversary of the Myanmar’s military coup in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand including reading public statements and simulating the deadly crackdowns by the Myanmar military against their people. The Ukraine Supporters Group including other nationals have gathered to perform symbolic actions to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to oppose the invasion and to oppose the war in front of the Russian Embassy in Thailand.

In addition, at least one activity was held on an environmental issue. Members of the Udonthani Conservation Group have marched in a campaign against the granting of licenses to operate Potash mine and to disseminate information and expand their alliances in their attempt to file a case with the Administrative Court late March. At least one public assembly was held on other issue. The current students and alumni of Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-ok, Uthenthawai Campus have gathered to oppose the relocation of the university and to submit their letter to the university’s President.

Update on legal cases as of February 2023

February’s prosecutions against the people continue to intensify. At least five more individuals were legally charged in five cases. Verdicts have been delivered in the trial courts in at least four cases including one acquittal. As to the cases related to an offence against the Emergency Decree, despite its being lifted since October 2022, the remaining cases continue to be tried in the Court causing extraordinary burden on the activists. In this months, five more participants in the #RatsadonStopAPEC2022 assembly have been summoned to answer to charges while verdicts have been delivered in 13 cases.

Since the Free Youth led public assemblies on 18 July 2020 until 28 February 2023, at least 1,895 individuals have been charged for participating in public assemblies or expressing their political opinions in 1,180 cases including 211 cases against 284 youth under 18 years of age . Prosecutions against children include cases against 41 children under 15 years of age and 243 cases against children from 15-18 years. Compared with the end of January 2023, five more individuals have been charged in 11 new cases (counting only those who have never been charged before.) Altogether, there have been at least 3,785 legal actions against the individuals although some of them are charged for multiple offences. Of this, 312 cases have reached the final verdicts leaving more than 868 active cases pending in various stages of the procedure. Detail of key offences can be described as follows;

1. “Lese majeste” offence pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section112, at least 233 suspects in 253 cases

At least six more individuals were legally charged in five cases. Kanruethai Klaion has gone to answer to charges per the police summons. She was accused of posting messages, photos and videos via Facebook to smear and attach the monarchy from 8 Feb to 1 April 2022. Donphon (pseudonym) has gone to meet the police as he had been summoned as witness. Instead, he was caught off guard charged for committing an offence against Section 112 and had not been informed of his right to legal counsel to participate in the procedure. Donphon was accused of posting in Facebook to question the existence of the Royal Honorary Arches in the Royalist Marketplace FB Group. In addition, it was reported that the promonarchist group has reported the case against Petchnin (last name withheld), second year student of Chulalongkorn University who was accused of creating a piece of art deemed defamatory to ‘Phra Kiew’, an emblem given by King Rama V.

Three more individuals were indicted in two cases. Arm (full name withheld) was accused of posting video clip featuring him while playing with his cat in TikTok Parit Chiwarakand Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul were accused of posting and sharing FB messages concerning ‘The Land of Compromise’ featuring the shooting of water canon by the police against the protesters during the “Ratsadon San” protest on 8 November 2020.

February saw verdicts in four Section 112 cases, one of which was an acquittal. Sureemat (last name withheld) was acquitted while being accused of sharing a link to a video clip featuring individuals performing ceremony to oust Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha. The clip was originally posted in the Royalist Marketplace FB Group. The promonarchist group which reported the case against her referred to the cover photo of the FB Group which was the picture of King Rama X. The Court dismissed the case citing it was not offensive to the monarchy. There were, however, three conviction verdicts. Ukrit Santiprasitkul was accused of using his FB to post news from the John New World Page to the Royalist Marketplace FB Group in 2020. The news was about a protest led by foreigners against the Thai King in front of a hotel in Germany with the caption “This fucking deserves the Long Live the King!” He was convicted and sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment, which was reduced to two years with suspension and was provisionally released. Sirichai Nathuang was accused of spraying paint the text “My Tax” and “Repeal 112” on the portraits of royal family members in six spots in Klong Luang District, around Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus in January2021. He was convicted and sentenced to three years and 10 months and fined for 31,177 baht with suspension of the jail term for two years. The Court cited that the spray painting of the portraits of royal family members shall affect King Rama X and it is considered an attempt to discredit and disrepute the monarchy and to damage the royal portraits as well. Thanaphon (last name withheld) was accused of using personal FB to post comments in another FB Page which posted doctored images of King Rama IX and King Rama VIII in 2021. She was convicted and sentenced to fouryears of imprisonment which was reduced to two years and the suspension of two years. The Appeals Court, however, changed verdict of the Lower Court to sentence her to imprisonment without suspension and without probation citing that when the offence was committed, the defendant was 21 years old and mature enough. Nevertheless, Thanaphon has been allowed to post bail pending her appeal with the Supreme Court.

In addition to the onslaught of indictments on Section 112, there have no reports of the non-prosecution orders in such cases. It is also worrying that the interpretation of Section 112 tends to be so vague and this has led to the unreasonable verdicts. For example, the cases against Sirichai and Thanaphon, the offences of which were not directly related to the current monarch. Still, the Courts found them guilty for an offence against Section 112 since they interpreted that the actions committed shall affect King Rama X and the monarchy as a while. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party protects individuals who exercise their right to freedom of expression under Article 19 and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 21. In addition, the UN Human Rights Committee has raised concern about lese majeste laws around the world by stating that all public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and government, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition. Criticisms of public institutions should not be prohibited. Even though certain accusations on lese majeste may be perceived of involving an act of defamation, but the Committee holds that “imprisonment shall never be an appropriate sanction in all such 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 1,467 suspects in 663 cases

In February, six cases on this offence have been dismissed including the cases against Chayanin Kongsong and Phonthakon Phanthong in Car Mob Nakhon Si Thammarat on 7 August 2021, Witchaphan Srikasiphan for participating in #Mob 7 August 21 protest at the Victory Monument and Din Daeng Intersection on 7 August 2021,14 activists for participating in #Mob23Febor #Police Mob police ToTopple Elephant on 23 Feb 2021,Piyarat Chongthep and Chonthicha Jangrew for participating in 21 Oct To Victory Monument on 21 October 2020, the tenth case which has stemmed from the same incidence that has been dismissed by the Court. In the case against Shinawatra Chankrachang, the Appeals Court upheld Lower Court’s verdict to acquit him in an offence against the Emergency Decree and Public Assembly Act following his making speeches and participating in the #Mob 6 Dec organized by Ratsadon Group in Thonburi and the Fun Fueng Gorup Thonburi on Latya Road and Wong Wian Yai on 6 December 2020.To acquit him, the Court cited that the assembly was held peacefully according to their constitutional rights and the defendant was not an organizer of the event.

In another case, the public prosecutor has issued an absolute non-prosecution order citing the protesting venue was not closed up, not crowded, while participants were wearing masks. In addition, until now, there have been no reports of the spreading of the virus from public assemblies, except the gambling dens, entertainment parlors and wet markets. It was the case against Chatchai Kaedam accused of making speeches at the #Pathumthani Holding No Mercy To Dictators at the parking area for minivans opposite to the Future Department Store in Rangsit since 23 July 2020.

Nevertheless, the Courts have ruled for conviction in six cases, the three of which saw the defendants merely fined including the case against eight individuals for participating in the #ReclaimingThailandOustingParasite or the #Mob18 July 2021 in which the defendants were each fined 34,000 baht,the case against four former students of Chiang Mai University for participating in #ChiangMai EnoughIs Enough With Too held at the Thaphae Gate on19 July 2020, in which the defendants were each fined 4,000 baht due to the assumption it could lead to the spread of the disease, the case against Chitiphat (last name withheld) for participating in Din Daeng on 16 September 2021 in which the defendant was acquitted since the prosecution has failed to adduce other evidence to establish the case against the defendant, and the defendant was found guilty only on violating the curfew ban per the Emergency Decree and was fined 5,000 baht. Given his remand in custody for 54 days, the length of custody could be converted into monetary value to deduct the fine. And when the case reaches its final verdict, Chitiphat can apply for compensation for having been imprisoned without any doing anything wrong.

In two cases, the Courts imposed a fine and imprisonment against Punnamet Onaree for organizing Phitsanulok Car Mob “CARPARK Phitsanulok” on 29 August 2021 in which he was sentenced to 4 months of imprisonment suspended for one year and a fine of 6,000 baht, and Chanchai and Theerameth for participating in Din Daeng protests on 22 September 2021 in which the Court sentenced them to 15 days of imprisonment suspended for one year and a fine of 10,000 baht each.

In addition, the Appeals Court has revised or overturned acquittal verdicts of the Lower Courts or ordered a retral. The case against Abhisit Promrit accused of participating in #KamphaengPhet Car Mob Bearing It No More to demand Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha to resign from office on 1 August 2021 was ordered to have a retrial. The new verdict by the Lower Court is scheduled to be delivered on 20 March 2023.

In a slew of verdicts on the offence against the Emergency Decree, it was found the Courts have dismissed at least 61 such cases, followed the decision to not prosecute by the public prosecutor in at least 39 cases and in at least 32 cases in which the Courts have found the defendants guilty as charged. Even though there is a trend that most of the cases concerning the offence against the Emergency Decree have been dismissed by the Courts, the judicial procedure continues to cause much burden to the prosecuted individuals. For example, Chitiphan (last name withheld) who was remanded in custody for 54 days has caught Covid-19 while in prison. His detention has made his mother’s living much more precarious. Eventually, he was only fined by the Court for violating the curfew ban

4. An offence against the Public Assembly Act, at least 132 suspects in 77 cases

In February, the Samranrat Police Station has summoned five more participants from the Ratsadon Stops APEC 2022 to answer to the charges on top of the 25 individuals previously charged. The individuals have, however, asked to postpone their answering to the charges.

5. An offence against the Computer Crimes Act, at least 161 suspects in 182 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

This month saw three more verdicts on contempt cases including the case against 3 female activists for participating in a public assembly to demand the right to bail of the Ratsadon protest leaders in front of the Criminal Court on24 December2021. It was alleged that they had thrown bags filled with red paint into the premises of the Court. The Appeals Court upheld verdict of the Lower Court and sentenced them to one month and a fine of 250 baht with one year of suspension. Five activists were convicted for participating in the REDEM protest by throwing paints and tomatoes in front of the Criminal Court on 2 May 2021. The Appeals Court upheld the verdict to have them detained citing it was not an exercise of the right to peaceful assembly guaranteed by the Constitution and the case was prosecuted separately, although stemming from the same incidence, and was therefore not considered double jeopardy. Three activists from Thalu Fah was convicted for scribing the wall while being detained pending the bail order in a courtroom of the Criminal Court on 18 January 2022. The Appeals Court upheld verdict of the Lower Court to detain them instead of imprisonment for 15 days. The activists indicted in both cases have been allowed to post bail.

Individuals remanded in custody

This month saw the applications for bails of a number of individuals remanded in custody. Meanwhile, campaigns have been launched to demand the right to bail of political prisoners led by , Tantawan Tuatulanon and Bam Orawan (last name withheld)Sitthichoke Setsawet and Sophon Surariddhidhamrong, the latter of whom has escalated the campaign by starting the sleep deprivation protest. Given all these protests and outcries from the public, the Courts have allowed 15 individuals to post bail including;

1. Eak (pseudonym) was accused of sharing one post of photos and text from “KTUK – Khon Thai Uk” Facebook page. Since his indictment, he has been remanded in custody from 22 December 2022. After filing bail application for at least seven times, he was allowed to post bail on 3 Feb 2023. In total, he was remanded in custody for 43 days.

2. Ukrit Santiprasitkul was accused of posting five messages in “John New World” Facebook page concerning King Rama X and the Queen Consort. Ukrit has been remanded since 21 December 2022. After filing bail application for at least six times, he was allowed to post bail on 4 Feb 2023. In total, he was remanded in custody for 45 days.

3-4. Tantawan Tuatulanon and Bam Orawan (last name withheld),**following their withdrawal of bail applications, they have been demanded in custody from 16 January 2023. Later, they announced their embarking on dry fasting strike to demand the right to bail of all detainees since 18 January 2023. On 7 Feb 2023, the Director of Thammasat Hospital has filed a bail application due to their deteriorating health from dry fasting, the Court has allowed Tantawan to be temporarily release for one month while Bam has been allowed to be freed without restriction. They were altogether remanded for 20 days. Both Tantawan and Bam insisted that they were unaware of the bail applications and insisted on continuing their dry fasting protest until their demands are met. At present (as of 28 Feb 2023), both were on 41 days of hunger strike.

5. Thatpong Khiawkhao was intercepted while walking through checkpoint en route toward the APEC 2022 meeting venue at BTS’s Ratchathewi station during his participation in the Thalu Gaz’s demonstration on Ratchaprarop Rd, on 21 November 2021. He has been remanded in custody since 17 November 2022 while bail application has been filed for him at least 10 times. Thatpong was later released on 8 February 2023 since the public prosecutor failed to indict him within the seven rounds of remand in custody. He was altogether remanded in custody for 84 days.

6. Sombat Thongyoi Being detained since 28 April 2022 following his conviction and being sentenced to six years of imprisonment without suspension for posting #verybrave #verygood #thankyou and a statement about an attempt to get closer to the people and the signing of autograph. After filing bail application for at least 12 times, he was allowed to post bail on 9 Feb 2023. In total, he was remanded in custody for 288 days.

7. Kongpetch was remanded in custody since 11 April 2022 while traveling from Din Daeng to Ratchaprasong intersection to participate in #No Justice 12 Years We Shall Not Forget and found to have explosive. After filing bail application for at least 16 times, he was allowed to post bail on 10 Feb 2023. In total, he was remanded in custody for 306 days.

8. Sitthichoke Setsawet was accused of spraying oil-like liquid at the foundation of the portrait of King Rama X on 18 July 2021. Following his conviction and being sentenced to two years and four months of imprisonment, he has been remanded since 17 January 2023. Sitthichoke started his hunger strike from the first day in jail and has later even escalated to stop drinking as well to demand the right to bail of all detainees. After filing bail application for at least five times, he was allowed to post bail on 10 Feb 2023. In total, he was remanded in custody for 24 days.

9-12. Watcharaphon, Chatuphon, Nutthaphon and Ponpon were accused of destroying and setting fire on police vehicle during the #RatsadonMarchingToOustToo or #Mob11June22 at Din Daeng in Din Daeng. Watcharaphon was first remanded on 13 June 2022, Chatuphon on 16 June 2022, and Ponpon and Nutthaphon on 17 June 2022. After filing bail application for at least 18 times, they were allowed to post bail on 17 Feb 2023. In total, Watcharaphon was remanded in custody for 43 days, Chatuphon 247 days, and Ponpon and Nutthaphon 246 days.

13. Phonpot Chaengkrachang was wanted for allegedly being involved with the throwing of Ping Pong bomb into the lawn in front of the 1st Infantry Regiment the night of 10 April 2022 He has been remanded since 13 April 2022. After filing bail application for at least 13 times, he was allowed to post bail on 20 Feb 2023. In total, he was remanded in custody for 313 days.

14-15. Sophon Surariddhidhamrong and Bai Por (full name withheld) Sophon had his bail revoked in Section 112 case stemming from speeches made at public assembly Tour Mu La Phua on 22 April 2022 while Bai Por had her bail revoked in Section 112 case stemming from sharing posts about “monarchy budget” and another post to invite people to participate in a poll on the exercise of power by the King on Thaluwang Facebook page on 17 April 2022. Since both have participated in the #APEC2022 meeting protests on 17 and 19 November 2022, they have been remanded since 9 January 2023. Sophon has escalated his action in prison by launching “sleep deprivation strike” since 7 Feb 2023 while Nutthaphon and Chatuphon have joined him in the strike during the first couple of days before calling it quits since they had to look after Sophon whose condition has deteriorated rapidly. Sophon and Bai Por were allowed to post bail at the same time on 20 Feb 2023. In total, they were remanded in custody for 42 days.

This month, however, saw the remand in custody of Theeranaiand**Chaiphon,**protesters from the Thalu Gazwho were intercepted at a checkpoint prior to the Mob29August21 protest and were found to have in possession Ping Pong explosive and were later charged for having in possession explosive. Given their guilty plea, both were sentenced to six years which was then reduced to three years of imprisonment. Their bail application was filed with the Appeals Court. Meanwhile, both were remanded in custody since 15 Feb 2022.Later the Appeals Court denied them bail.

There are therefore six convicted prisoners 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).

The state of harassment against the public as of February 2023

According to TLHR’s documentation of incidences of harassment in January-February, at least 30 individuals have been subject to rights abuse and harassment including three youth under 18 years of age. Regionally, 18 individuals in Central Plain were found to face rights abuse and harassment by the authorities, nine in the North, two in the South and one in the Northeast.

There have been a few reported incidences of harassment in February while at least 78 public assemblies were held nationwide, equaling January. The most common demands for the protests are related to the right to bail for political prisoners. As a result, the reported incidences of harassment concentrate on the political assemblies triggered by the demand. The harassment can be divided as follows;

Harassment due to the visit of VIP persons

Members of the royal family

Yam, a 14-year-old activist who was subject to harassment during the 2023 Children’s Day event in Chiang Mai reveals that the police have visited her at home and school before the visits of royal family members in February.

Harassment to disrupt activities

Despite not being protest organizers, it has been reported that plainclothes police and Special Branch police of local precinct have harassed by following the families of Tantawan Tuatulanon and Bam Orawan (last name withheld), the two activists who were on hunger strike. They have inquired Bam Orawan’s parents if their daughter had taken food in secret and would they move to other place? They even tried to enter the patient room in the Thammasat Hospital where both were receiving the treatment. In addition, the activists’ friends have noted that during the time, more police officials were deployed, probably due to their concern that Tantawan and Bam Orawan would conduct an action in front of the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court.

Nevertheless, when Tantawan and Bam Orawan have decided to leave the Thammasat Hospital to carry on their dry fasting strike in front of the Supreme Court to demand the right to bail of the remaining political prisoners, it was revealed that the police had tried to reclaim the protest site by making an announcement that they would crack down on the protesters if they refused to remove a banner attaching the Court. Later, the police have, however, announced that they had no plan to dissolve the assembly.

Harassment for unknown reasons

Parit Chiwarak reveals how the police officials drove around in the housing project where he lived and asked about him, and checked his cellphone signal. Some Jit Arsa volunteers even drove their cars to the entrance of his house. The Ministry of Public Health requested the suspension of the Rural Doctor CLub Facebook Page claiming it instigates social chaos, causes misunderstanding in the public and affects the provision of public health services, although there have been no report the page has been shut down. The MoPH has taken a legal action against Dr. Suphat Hasuwankit, Chairperson of the Rural Doctor Club and an employee of MoPH who has been a regular critic of the MoPH’s policies including the decriminalization of cannabis, the procurement of Covid-19 vaccination, and the unfair reshuffling of government officials.

Fah, a student of Mahasarakham University, reports that the authorities have followed her to her school and residence causing her much annoyance,

Trend of harassment in March 2023

The authorities continue to stay vigilant of people’s attempts to express themselves. Any political activities including ones with many participants, or ones with people holding some paper could result in the participants being held in custody. The authorities have never been hesitant to exercise their power to deprive people’s rights and freedoms to ensure public order and national security. Therefore, it can be projected that harassment in February will be on an increase and tends to escalate toward more violence. Any political activities by even small activist groups or even by one single person could be subjected to surveillance and stifled by the authorities.