Rich in traditions of coups and chaos, Bangkok is no stranger to lockdowns and curfews, but this is the first time we are locking down because of a virus.
Today is Day 1 of the state of emergency. As citizens wait to see what “stricter” measures the government will impose on the nation, here’s a look at Thailand’s modern history and some of the instances in which we lived under a lockdown.
The Prayuth Chan-o-cha Government is not the first to implement the emergency decree in its current form. Rather, the current articles were first introduced on July 16, 2004, by the Thaksin Shinawatra Government and put into effect on the following day. The decree was in response to the three troubled southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat where insurgent activities erupted.
The three southern provinces have been under a state of emergency off and on for the past 19 years, as by law the emergency decree can be declared every three months. The last one was announced on December 17, 2019 in response to violent incidents in Narathiwat Province.
During the Abhisit Vejjajiva Government, an emergency decree was imposed on April 7, 2010 to counter the protests by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). It was accompanied by the creation of the Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), headed by the then deputy prime minister, Suthep Thuagsuban.
On January 22, 2013, the Yingluck Shinawatra Government imposed a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok, Nonthaburi Province and parts of Samut Prakan Province and Pathum Thani Province. This was in response to the protests led by Suthep Thaugsuban and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
But we can go back even farther.
Following the massacre of students at Thammasat University on August 6, 1976, martial law was enacted, including a city-wide curfew in which citizens were prevented from leaving their homes.
Following the military coup against the Thanin Kraivixien Government, martial law was declared on August 20, 1977 and the nation’s capital was put under curfew.
During the failed Young Turk Coup against the Prem Tinsulanonda Government, April 1-3, 1980, martial law and curfew were imposed.
Following the Black May 1992 massacre, when the people rose up to protest against General Sujinda Kraprayoon, martial law was declared and curfew imposed.
Following the May 22, 2014 military coup by General Prayuth, curfew was imposed.