Demonstrators storm UN building to protest NPO law

Demonstrators storm UN building to protest NPO law

This morning, demonstrators crowded around the United Nations building and Government House to denounce the government's bill on non-profit organizations.

 

Hundreds of vocal anti-NPO people bypassed a number of barriers, including barbed wire along various sections of Ratchadamnoen Road leading to Government House in Bangkok. Nevertheless, they managed to express their disagreement with the law, which will affect the independence of NGO groups.

Last month, protesters sent a letter to the cabinet against the NPO bill, but received no response, so they took matters into their own hands and marched to the building today at 9 am.

The protesters, some of whom were armed with placards reading "Damn the coup", were informed that a representative would speak to them at 11:45 a.m., but no one showed up.

Activists believe the bill violates freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and could harm Thai civil society. They say the law is not in line with Thailand's international human rights obligations because the wording of the law is vague.

If the law is passed, NGOs are required to uphold "good morals" or avoid "disturbing the normal happy existence of the people" in the country. But many groups say the language is not clearly defined. If an NPO fails to comply with the restrictions, it may be subject to a daily fine of 10,000 baht or may face the risk of closing operations.