Thailand’s government has imposed a state of emergency in a bid to end three months of student-led street protests calling for reforms to the monarchy and the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, on Thursday.
The ruling bans gatherings of five or more people and the publication of news or online messages that could harm national security.
Protests have escalated over the past three months and on Wednesday tens of thousands of people marched in Bangkok, the capital, setting up camp outside Government House, the prime minister’s office.
Activists have repeatedly said they wish only for the monarchy to adapt to modern times, abolition of a strict royal defamation law which shields the king from criticism and for the monarch to stay out of politics.
Several popular anti-government movements have arisen during the turbulent modern history of Thailand, which has endured long bouts of political unrest and more than a dozen successful military coups since 1932.
Since the movement started in July, dozens of anti-government activists have been arrested, charged with sedition and released on bail. At least 21 people were arrested earlier this week for attending demonstrations.