An overview of public assemblies 7-15 August 2021

Updates on the public assemblies during 7-15 August 2021

# Overview of the public assemblies

# The organizers, venues, timing, approximate number of participants of public assemblies, number of policing officials

@Thikamporn Tamtiang (1)การสลายการชุมนุมในวันที่ 7 สิงหาคม 2564 ก่อนการเริ่มตั้งขบวนของกลุ่ม Redem ที่อนุสาวรีย์ประชาธิปไตย

@Thikamporn Tamtiang (2) มวลชนหลังจากถูกสลายการชุมนุมที่อนุสาวรีย์ประชาธิปไตย เริ่มตั้งขบวนใหม่ที่อนุสาวรีย์ชัยฯเพื่อไปบ้านพลเอกประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา (ราบ 1)

@Napat Tar Wesshasartar ภาพการกระชับพื้นที่ของเจ้าหน้าที่ควบคุมฝูงชนพร้อมรถน้ำแรงดันสูงและปืนบรรจุกระสุนยางและแก๊สน้ำตา ที่แยกดินแดงมุ่งหน้าอนุสาวรีย์ชัยฯ หลังจากผู้ชุมนุมพยายามจะเดินไปที่ราบ 1 วันที่ 7 สิงหาคม 2564

ภาพ 1-3 ฉนวนความรุนแรงจากรัฐปะทะมวลชนในวันที่ 7 สิงหาคม ซึ่งต่อเนื่องจากการเริ่มเหตุการณ์การสลายการชุมนุมวันที่ 1 สิงหาคม 2564 หลังจากการคาร์ม็อบยุติการชุมนุม ต่อมากลายมาเป็นการชุมนุมยืดเยื้อของมวลชนอิสระในนาม "ทะลุแก๊ส"

Since the outbreak of public assemblies led by school and university students and members of the public on 18 July 2020 until now. Mob Data Thailand has found at least 1,852 public assemblies have taken place in 77 provinces, despite the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in the State of Emergency has been imposed since 25 March 2020. Other decrees have also been enforced including Regulations, Notification of the Chief Officer of Response During the State of Emergency related to national security and Provincial Governors which ban public gathering or public assembly which may help to spread the disease including the gathering of five persons and upward purportedly for the maintenance of social order and the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

Nevertheless, a large number of people have come out to demand the government and the authorities to speed up their effort to address the Covid-19 pandemic. They have called out the delayed vaccine rollout and the impacts from national lockdown measures and in areas with high infection rate including the 21.00 – 04.00 curfew. From 7-15 August 2021, various groups have organized protests to demand the removal of General Prayut Chan-ocha as Prime Minister including the Free Youth, Thalu Fah, and Car Mob groups, altogether 35 times at the Democracy Monument, the Ratchaprasong Intersection, the Victory Monument and the Samliam Din Daeng Intersection. The Car Mobs alone have been organized at least 35 times in 28 provinces. Nevertheless, the organizers in Phatthalung and Suratthani had to call off the activities before time due to their concern about safety of the organizers and participants.

# How force has been used by officials to stop public assemblies, the number and examples of injuries and persons held in custody including children and youth, the press, monitors

Even though the General Comment no. 37 issued by virtue of Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) clearly stipulates that suppression of a public assembly may only be carried out in exceptional circumstances including when such public assemblies are no longer peaceful or if there is clear evidence of an imminent threat of serious violence that cannot be reasonably addressed by more proportionate measures. And even when such conditions are met and the officials may restrict such public assemblies, there are conditions and guidelines with which the officials have to comply as provided by law. Compliance with international human rights principles and standards has to be met as well.

Nevertheless, Amnesty International Thailand has found that all of the public assemblies from 7-15 August 2021 have been dispersed with the use of force by the authorities. In several cases, the crowd control forces and equipment for dispersing public assemblies have been deployed even before the public assemblies began. In some cases, the officials would announce that the action of the participants was in violation of the law, after which they would immediately use tear gas and fire rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. In other cases, the officials would tell the participants to not cross the line where the officials are deployed. Once the participants started to find way to press ahead with their demonstrations, the officials would instantly disperse the public assemblies, for example.

In addition, AIT has also found that attempts have been made to use force to apprehend some participants using it as a tactic leading to the suppression of the public assemblies. The use of force during the apprehension has, however, been made excessively since it involved the firing of a barrage of rubber bullets and tear gas, kicking down motorcycles driven by the participants, etc., leading to a number of injuries and persons held in custody. According to Mob Data Thailand and the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), from 7-15 August 2021, 98 persons have been arrested and charged in offences related to public assemblies including 17 children and youth plus some injured persons, the number and information of which have rarely been published by the policing authorities. Initially, according to documentation by AIT and Mob Data Thailand, some participants including the widely reported case of Mr. Thanat and another independent monitor, have got injured and the former has suffered vision loss in one of his eyes. According to initial information, the injuries were caused by tear gas fired by the officials during the dispersal of public assemblies and against some members of the press, even though they wore clear signs indicating that they were the press. Some people who have tried to run for a cover under a building were also fired at with rubber bullets as well.