Bangkok lays down rules on Songkran festivities - ASEAN/East Asia | The Star Online
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Bangkok lays down rules on Songkran festivities

Filepix of Thais and foreigners spraying water from elephants at a Songkran Festival celebration in Ayutthaya. - EPA

Filepix of Thais and foreigners spraying water from elephants at a Songkran Festival celebration in Ayutthaya. - EPA

BANGKOK: Provocative dances, revealing clothes and red bowls emblazoned with the name Thaksin Shinawatra will be banned during the upcoming Songkran Festival.

Officially held from April 13 to 15, the usually colourful festival will this year face a stern stance towards revellers who get drunk, become sexually provocative, or adopt a politically 'red' stance. 

Police have vowed to take swift action against any Songkran celebrant who gets drunk or wears too revealing clothes. Revellers were also warned to be cautious about applying powder on others or risk being punished for sexual harassment. 

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday he had ordered the immediate arrest of any females or transvestites found performing sexually provocative dance moves on pickups or trucks during the festival.

"Don't say this is a festival for fun and this festival is just held for a few days each year. Such actions can cause trouble to others," he said.

He said provocative dances may arouse some revellers who may end up sexually harassing others. Crimes may then follow.

On red bowls, an informed source yesterday revealed that police were preparing to quickly interrogate any reveller who carries a red bowl with Thaksin's name on it.

"At their meeting, police have been given guidelines - that they should ask questions to find out where the bowls came from," the source said.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is even considering putting politicians who give out the pro-Thaksin bowls in a seven-day course to "adjust their attitude". Prayut, also the NCPO chief, has insisted that such bowls are not usual Thai New Year gifts.

Senior police did not mention the red bowls directly when they emerged from a meeting on Songkran measures yesterday.

However, the source said they discussed the issue at the meeting.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is calling on people to avoid carrying backpacks, wearing facial masks, and wielding huge water guns during the upcoming festivities.

There will be many big Songkran events around the capital. Events are being held at Khao San Road, Silom Road and Central World.

Assistant National Police Commissioner Pol Lt General Anan Srihiran said water trucks would also be banned on 33 of Bangkok's main roads during the period.

"We will promote a safe and beautiful celebration of Songkran," he said. The Nation/Asia News Network