Thailand is heaven – whatever that mean. But be warned. Things are changing and are changing fast in Thailand after the military coup.
Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director, said: “Three months since the coup, a picture emerges from our investigations of widespread and far-reaching human rights violations perpetrated by the military government.
“It has become part of the military government’s modus operandi to crack down on the smallest forms of dissent, such as wearing T-shirts that could ‘promote division’ or reading certain books and eating sandwiches in public in symbolic protest against military rule.”
The Amnesty report said that military authorities have imposed “sweeping restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which has had a chilling effect on public debate and led to widespread self-censorship.”
Below are eight activities that have been reportedly banned by the NCPO (National Council for Peace and Order):
Wearing T-shirts that could ‘promote division’
Red and yellow t-shirts often associated with certain political movements – so don’t wear them in public.
Eating sandwiches in public
Amnesty said that “sandwiches became symbolic of peaceful resistance at one point, leading state-run newspapers to warn people against eating sandwiches, and a senior police chief to say they are keeping a close eye on sandwich eaters.”
Reading certain books
Protestors have reportedly been arrested for reading George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and a screening of the film in Bangkok was cancelled in June by authorities
Posting anything deemed critical of the military online
“Hundreds of websites have been taken down or blocked,” Amnesty said, ““censorship panels” have been set up to monitor media, and people have been threatened with imprisonment for posting anything deemed critical of the military online.”
Gatherings of more than five people
“A ban on gatherings of more than five people has been in effect since martial law was imposed, in clear violation of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” the report stated.
Raising a “Hunger Games” salute
A three-fingered sign used by protestors became an unofficial symbol of resistance after the coup and bore a strong resemblance to that used in the dystopian Hollywood blockbuster.
Being labelled “problematic”, or a political activist “When the military took over, they summoned several hundred people they deemed problematic, and ordered them to report to the authorities,” Amnesty reported.
Playing a non-approved computer game
Tropico 5, in which players set up their own military dictatorship in a fictional paradise, has been banned.