Protest law & public order policing in hybrid regimes

Niyomsilp, Pat (2019) Protest law & public order policing in hybrid regimes. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Hybrid regimes are those in which only the formalities of representative electoral politics are observed. Consequently, political legitimacy is determined on the basis of whether the incumbent political leaders have the backing of non-representative political ‘guardians’ (such as the monarchy and the military) rather than through the popular vote exclusively. The incumbents need to win elections. They stay in power by manipulating the political sphere to gain unfair advantages over their political competitors. Individuals in hybrid regimes do not enjoy freedom of assembly in the same way as individuals in consolidated democracies. This thesis highlights how hybrid regimes in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand) use legal mechanisms governing public assemblies to thwart the effective realisation of the freedom of assembly stipulated by international human rights law. Such legal factors are often overlooked by scholars in political science and social movement studies in seeking to explain both regime resilience and the repression of opposition protest movements. While hybrid regimes may appear to adopt international human rights standards on public assemblies, these are inconsistently implemented in practice. The resulting gap – between an apparent commitment to international standards and the reality ‘on the ground’ – can partly be explained by the fact that human rights standards are themselves primarily oriented to facilitating and protecting public assemblies as a part of the democratic process. In contrast, legal frameworks and public order policing in hybrid regimes serve a different purpose than to enable a democratic process. In particular, in the absence of mechanisms of accountability, hybrid regime incumbents manipulate legal rules – and the discretion conferred on law enforcement officials – so as to secure their continued dominance. The thesis thus illustrates how such rule by law is used to strengthen and ‘street-proof’ hybrid regimes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2020 12:11
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2020 12:11


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