Government warns pro-democracy activists to behave

PHOTO: Facebook/Thikamporn Tamtiang

The Thai government has warned pro-democracy activists to cease any activity they see as a threat to the monarchy. Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam issued the warning in the wake of a Constitutional Court ruling that found 3 activists guilty of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. Anon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul all deny the accusations, insisting they were merely calling for reform.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Wissanu says the 3 protesters can no longer use the right to freedom of expression to justify their actions, as the court has ruled that such actions cannot be defended in this way.

Another Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwon, agrees, saying anti-government protesters are bound by the court’s ruling. The Bangkok Post reports that when asked if the activists could face additional charges should they continue to hold rallies, Prawit said the police would handle the situation. He has dismissed suggestions that the court’s ruling could cause demonstrations to turn violent, insisting the issue is now closed.

Wednesday’s Constitutional Court ruling was the result of a petition from lawyer Natthaporn Toprayoon, which accused the activists of violating section 49 of the constitution. Section 49 prohibits people from using their rights or liberties to overthrow a regime in which the King is head of state. The majority of judges involved in the case ruled that the activists had been plotting such a move. While no punishment was handed down, the trio were warned to cease such actions immediately.

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The case dates back to August 10 last year and a political protest that took place at the Rangsit Campus of Thammasat University. During the rally, Panusaya read out a list of 10 demands, one of which called for reform of the monarchy. The move shocked many, raising as it did a subject that has long been taboo in Thai society.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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