Bangkok police vow to press charges against activists from Wednesday rally

PHOTO: Protesters using the 3-finger salute at a rally at Ratchaprasong intersection in October 2020 - ฮินะจังปลดแอก / Wikimedia

Bangkok’s deputy police chief, Piya Tavichai, says 11 activists who addressed participants at a rally at Ratchaprasong intersection on Wednesday will be charged. He says his officers have already identified 10 of the protest leaders and also plan to charge other participants who used loudspeakers or held up banners with insulting messages about the monarchy. Piya adds that any media outlet that broadcast such messages will also be prosecuted.

“Teams of police recorded pictures and voices and people will be summoned to acknowledge charges.”

According to the Bangkok Post, Sonthiya Sawasdee, adviser to the House Committee on law, justice and human rights, is calling for action to be taken against those who gave speeches and spoke offensively about the monarchy, as well as against a TV station that broadcast the speeches without censoring the content.

On Wednesday evening, thousands of protesters gathered at Ratchaprasong intersection in the capital, calling for Thailand’s lèse majesté law to be abolished, for those charged under the law and with other offences to be released, and for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

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One prominent leader from the pro-democracy Ratsadon group is urging more people to join the fight. Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, is currently being held at the Central Women’s prison. Her older sister posted a message to Panusaya’s Facebook page on her behalf, in which the activist acknowledges protester numbers are dwindling and calls for more support.

“The situation now isn’t good at all as we have been put in jail. More of our friends might be detained in prison if they are denied bail. If everyone isn’t coming out on the streets no matter whether it is fear or complacency that deters you, it could be someone close to you who will walk into prison (as a detained suspect) next time. Democracy will have to continue now and forever, although the people (protesters) may be gone (during this fight). If you miss us and want us to walk free from prison and don’t want anyone else to come in again, ask your parents and families to join hands and fight for us.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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