Police seek arrest warrants for anti-government protest leaders

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

6 political activists, at the centre of a rally at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus on August 10, are facing arrest on charges of sedition, using loudspeakers to advertise in public spaces without permission, violating the computer crimes act, and breaking the disease control law. A report in the Bangkok Post names the 6 as Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong Chadnok, Anon Nampa, Natchanon Phairot, Thanawat Chanphluek and Sitnon Songsiri.

Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa was previously arrested on August 8, along with protest leader Panupong Chadnok. Both were charged with “sedition” for their part in a rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument on July 18. They were subsequently released on bail on condition they didn’t repeat the offences.

On August 14, student activist Parit Chiwarak, aka. “Penguin”, was arrested on similar charges for his part in a July 20 protest at Royal Thai Army headquarters. He was also released on bail, with the same conditions attached. Yesterday, on social media, he shared his reaction to news that 6 of his fellow activists face arrest, insisting the university rally was peaceful and passed without incident.

“My six friends who organised the Thammasat Cha Mai Thon (“Thammasat will no longer put up with it”) will face arrest warrants for sedition (Section 116 of the Criminal Code). Oh, for heaven’s sake!”

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Anti-government protests have been gaining momentum in recent weeks, as activists, mostly students, demand the dissolution of parliament, constitutional reform, and an end to the intimidation of those critical of the government. The protesters’ demands have now grown into a 10-point manifesto, which also calls for reform of the monarchy. This latest demand has ruffled the feathers of royalists, including groups such as People Protecting the Institution and the Coordination Centre for Vocational Students.

Pro-monarchy counter-protests have also taken place, with the PM voicing concern over potential violent clashes between the two groups. However, although both sides of the argument have gathered at the same locations, their rallies have usually happened at different times, avoiding the risk of a clash so far.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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