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Thailand bans big gatherings as it moves to stop protests

Pro-democracy demonstrators sit on the street outside the Government House during a Thai anti-government mass protest, on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, in Bangkok, Thailand October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s government ordered a ban on gatherings of five or more people in Bangkok, the capital, on Thursday under emergency measures to stop escalating street protests, an official document said.

The document also said there was a ban on the publication of news or online messages that “could create fear,” could affect national security or damage public morale. It said the government could also ban access to any places designated by authorities.

The emergency measures, which take effect from 4 a.m. (2100 GMT), come after protesters set up camp outside Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s office and also obstructed a royal motorcade.

Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Leslie Adler