THAILAND. Bangkok: On the last day of the year that was filled with anti-establishment protests, police arrested at least 16 activists while they were setting up shrimp markets.
After the new wave of the pandemic hit seafood businesses, volunteer protest guards gathered at the Royal Plaza on 31 December to sell fresh and barbecued shrimps as a part of their New Year’s Eve event.
Prachatai reported that hundreds of riot police with shields and batons violently dispersed the area and arrested 12 activists shortly after the stall was put up. They then moved their event location to 14 October Memorial where another four activists faced arrest.
Police took detainees to Region 1 Border Police Bureau in Pathum Thani. Among 16, two of them are minors.
BBC Thai reported that police pressed three charges: violation of the Emergency Decree, which bans large gatherings due to COVID-19, violation of the Communicable Diseases Act, and Public Advertisement Act.
Thai government once lifted the gathering ban under the state of emergency amid the anti-government protests. It came back last week. Violators can face up to 2 years in jail or 40,000 Baht fine. The decree was noted to grant authorities too much power.
COVID-19 and seafood businesses
Following the new wave of the coronavirus outbreak that was initiated in a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon, seafood businesses took the biggest impact, as several local media reported.
A seafood store in Chiang Rai faced 50% decline in their sales despite its profitable usual business during this time of the year.
Bigger loss came after Samut Sakhon Provincial Governor Veerasak Vijitsaengsri tested positive for the virus after he tried to build confidence in eating seafood by getting shrimps from a market in the province.
Since 20 December, there have been 2,686 new cases discovered and 1 death. That brings Thailand to 6,884 cases with 61 deaths.