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Rayong protesters arrested ahead of Thai PM’s visit – VIDEO

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: YouTube
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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Rayong yesterday was marred by drama as 2 protesters were forcibly removed and taken into custody after raising signs condemning him just minutes before his motorcade arrived. The signs, expressing fury over the government’s recent mishandling of an imported case of Covid-19, read… “If you stay longer, the country will be in ruins. Get out, you bastard” and “Don’t lower your guard, my a **”. The latter apparently referred to the daily admonishments from health officials for people to” keep their guard up. “

The 2 people, identified as Nutchanon Payakaphan and Panupong Jadnok, were seen taken away in a Rayong police vehicle. Both resisted arrest, demanding to know what crimes they had committed.

“Tell me first what I did wrong?” Nutchanon shouted before being put into a headlock by an officer and forced into a pickup truck. Panupong was also forced by at least 5 officers into the same vehicle.

The pair were charged with violating the Emergency Decree , which since March has grants powers to authorities, ostensibly to control the spread of Covid-19, though it has been criticised as a means to control the public. Police say they violated the decree by protesting in public without permission. Nutchanon says both men will file charges against police for assaulting them.

The arrests came just minutes before Prayut’s motorcade arrived at the hotel where a visiting Egyptian aircrew stayed last week. Despite assurances that strict quarantine rules would apply to visiting foreign nationals, the 30+ military personnel were allowed to leave the hotel and go shopping at 2 malls. 1 of them later tested positive for the virus, leading to fears of a “second wave” of infections in the province. Thailand has not seen any domestic transmissions of the virus in nearly 2 months.

More than 1,400 residents came out to be tested for the virus and more than 200 local schools have been shuttered. Hopes for a tourism recovery in the province have been crushed with 90% of hotel bookings and all reservations for Koh Samet reportedly cancelled this week.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    paul scott

    July 16, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Considering the fact that the signs and manner of the protesters were threatening, they should have been removed. Blaming the PM for the fake Covid hysteria is mindless.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    July 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    A dictatorship in action.
    There are no deaths, and few reported cases of infections of this virus, yet they dictators retain oppressive powers for the supposed safety of the population.
    An emergency degree for the suppression of a virus has no right to limit the citizens right to protest.
    It is about time Thai citizens had a mass revolution or they will be controlled like slaves for years to come.

  3. Avatar

    David

    July 16, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Emergency decree = 0ne man goverment ???

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