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2 activists could face life in prison for alleged violations against a royal motorcade

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Twitter: @SAHINOP

2 pro-democracy activists could face life in prison for alleged intention to harm HM the Queen’s liberty during Wednesday afternoon’s rally in Bangkok, which happened to coincide with the same time and same route as a royal motorcade. The Criminal Court issued the arrest warrants yesterday.

Violence against the Queen or her liberty, in Section 110 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, has a punishment of 16 years to life in prison. The Bangkok Post says the punishment could be more severe if the activists are also found guilty of violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law, Section 112, which has a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for insulting or defaming the Royal Family.

The warrants are issued for pro-democracy activists Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Bunkueanun Paothon. Reports don’t go into detail about what the activists allegedly did to violate the laws, but many protesters got passed security to an area on Phitsanulok Road holding the royal motorcade and were seen holding their hands up in the 3 finger salute, a symbol of defiance against the military-run government.

More than 20 protester arrests

Early the next morning, as protesters were gathered in front of the Government House to put pressure on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign, the prime minister declared a State of Emergency, banning gatherings of more than 5 people. Police dispersed the camp-out protest, which was intended to go on for a few days, and 23 people were arrested with some facing charges of violating the emergency decree and organising illegal demonstrations.

5 activists leaders were arrested. Some say they were denied bail. 2 of the leaders, Arnon Nampa and Prasit Khrutharoj, were sent to Chiang Mai on arrest warrants issued in the northern province. Reports say Arnon faces sedition charges.

High-ranking police officers transferred

3 high-ranking police officers were abruptly transferred after Wednesday’s pro-democracy protest and are being investigated for alleged negligence. Reports do not go into detail about the probe, but Nation Thailand says the order was given by the Royal Thai Police’s newly appointed national police commander, Suwat Jangyodsuk. Nation Thailand says senior officers Somprasong Yentuam, Prasai Jittasonthi and Manop Sukhonthanapat were ordered to step down from their posts.

Continuing protests

Despite the newly imposed emergency decree, thousands gathered yesterday at the busy Ratchaprasong intersection, many protesting the shut down of Wednesday’s protest with the emergency order and the arrest of activists. So many people turned up, that police worried about how much weight the skywalk above the intersection could hold.

The Bangkok Post says protesters will return at 5pm today.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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    13 Comments

    13 Comments

    1. Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Odd that the Queen’s car was unescorted and heading the cavalcade – not normal at all, but there’s clearly no escort in the photo.

    2. Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:53 am

      Ah there are two motorcycle cops top right hand corner – hard to see but they are there.

      • Avatar

        Paul D McCarty

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm

        The government hiding behind the insane royal family. What a pair of major incompetents.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:27 pm

        2 x police motorcyclists, both on one side of the road, is far from a normal escort for a royal motorcade and that’s confirmed in other photos.

        It’s not as if police and security escorts are anything unusual here – it’s routine at all levels and follows standard operating procedures.

        I don’t want to go “Q Anon”, but I seriously doubt this could have just been down to an oversight.

    3. Avatar

      Dreamon

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

      we are in XXI century it is just ridiculous have a royal family with so much power.

    4. Avatar

      Fabian

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Protesters want modernization of the monarchy and democracy. These are however two separate topics. The monarchy is for Thai people a very sensitive matter. Many have a narrow vision about the monarchy because there is actually one (positive) vision allowed, which is propagandized.

      Prayut has proven in the last days again that the democracy really needs to be reformed. I would suggest to the protesters to focus on that first. If they want the monarchy to be changed why not through a healthy democracy instead of protesting?

      Sometimes you need to go step by step.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:44 pm

        Yes I agree, obtain democracy first and then if the population wishes it, reform the monarchy.
        Demanding the two at the same time is too much to ask.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:17 pm

          Agree, regardless of the politics.

          Combining so many different issues is divisive by itself, since unless you support all the issues you can’t support the core issue of democracy.

          However well intentioned or justified, the leaders have made a massive mistake, whether intentionally or not, by making this about the monarchy instead of about democracy.

    5. Avatar

      gosport

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Life sentence is just fine for the rioters leaders, they should be laid down for others future as they proclaimed. Fulfill your promise, dont whine!

      • Avatar

        brian

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 5:24 pm

        There has been no ‘riot’ and I cannot see how a 3 fingered salute threatens anyone.

    6. Avatar

      Richard Joynes

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      The route seems to have been carefully chosen. Why drive right by the demonstrators?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 8:01 pm

        Particularly as the planned and published route wasn’t past the demonstration, but the route was changed without notice.

        A cynic might suggest that someone was deliberately looking for a confrontation …..

      • Avatar

        TS

        Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 4:32 pm

        an excerpt from an article in the Asia Sentinal and so true:
        “This whole incident stinks of a set-up, sending out members of the family to spark an incident where protesters would confront the queen and show disrespect. The fact that the king hid in his palace while sending his wife and son into harm’s way tells you everything you need to know about the man”
        Grow a pair, X man.

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    Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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