Thursday 30th March, 2017
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday in favour of a Bill that restricts political demonstrations, something critics fear will be used to smother dissent after martial law is lifted. The law will impose restrictions on the "time, place and manner" of demonstrations but it was not aimed at banning protests, said Colonel Winthai Suvaree, a spokesman for the junta that seized power last year. "This law is not designed to prevent protests. It is aimed at giving order to public gatherings," Col Winthai said. Critics say the law would help the junta stifle dissent and maintain its largely unchallenged rule. "This law will replace martial law and control political protests which is an infringement on people's rights," said Mr Thanawut Wichaidit, a spokesman for the pro-Yingluck United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship activist group. The Bill must pass a second and third reading for it to come law, which looks likely given its support in the National Legislative Assembly, whose members were picked by the military. If the Bill becomes law, it would ban protests outside courts, Parliament and the prime minister's offices, known as Government House, Mr Jate Siratharanont, a member of the assembly, told Reuters. $(document).ready(function() { $("#st2014-content").after('...
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