Organising activities in private place, workplace, home are not recognised under the Public Assembly Act

 

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The Public Assembly Act B.E.2558 (2015) was enacted to control assemblies conducted in public places by providing specific duties for organizers and participants involved in such assemblies. Most significantly, it dictates that the organizer of such assemblies must notify the local police in advance so that police may intervene and regulate the activities of the assembly. However, this act does not apply to every type of assembly conducted in ‘public places.’ 
      
Exceptions to the Public Assembly Act B.E.2558 (2015) are provided in Section 3 as follows:
(1) assembly on the course of the royal ceremony or state ceremony
(2) assembly on the course of religious ceremony, traditional ceremony, or local culture  
(3) assembly to perform entertainment, sport, tourism promotion, or other activities for the commercial benefit of the organizer of the assembly.
(4) assembly within educational institutions
(5) assembly or meeting under the law, academic meeting or seminar
(6) public assembly to campaign for election   
 
Moreover, any other activity that falls within the scope of this act must refer to the definition provided in Section 4 as follows:     
 
‘Public Assembly’ is an assembly of individuals, conducted in a public place to demand support, oppose or express an opinion in any matter to the general public, and other persons can participate in the assembly, regardless of whether there is marching or movement in such assembly or not.     
 
‘Public Place’ is a land or construction that is of the state's property for public use; or preserved for mutual benefit, or which is not owned by the state agency, but in their possession or use, in which the people have righteousness to enter, including highways and public ways. 
 
 
Activities that are defined as a “public assembly” must consist of the following elements: 

1) must be conducted at a public place
2) to express their common petition, support, opposition or opinion on any matter to the public. 
3) must be expressed to the general public 
4) any individual can attend such assembly freely
 
In the case that any of the aforementioned elements are not satisfied, such public gatherings will not be considered a ‘public assembly’ and thus, will not fall under regulations of the Public Assembly Act. For example, if a large number of people were assembled for a public gathering within a closed location like an auditorium, such a gathering will not be considered a ‘public assembly’ as the location is not recognised as a public place under the Public Assembly Act. Another example of a public gathering that does not qualify as a ‘public assembly,’ is the case in which the gathering is held by a small, closed group of people that do not allow any other individuals to join, despite the gathering being held in a public place under the Public Assembly Act. 
    
A public place is defined as a land that belongs to the state and is utilised for public interests. This includes roads, public parks, government offices and lands that are not directly owned by the government organisations but are in use by the government organisations or can be used by the public.
 
Therefore, a ‘private place’ or private land will not be recognised as a ‘public place’ under the Public Assembly Act. If the gathering is held on private lands such as houses, office buildings, factories, establishments, farms, fields, or empty lands owned by private individuals, it will not be recognised as a ‘public assembly.’ This also includes private spaces used by many individuals such as malls, privately-owned sports centres, the common area of villages or condominiums.
 
Nevertheless, owners or caretakers of privately owned lands have the right to allow such lands to be used to run any kind of activities. If such activities are run without their permission, such actions can be regarded as an offence of trespass. 
 
 
 
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