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Protests

Online entrepreneurs cash in on “People’s Plaque”

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: ProgressiveMovementPNA / Facebook

After the removal of a commemorative plaque hours after it was installed by anti-government protesters, pro-democracy messaging has found a new home, now appearing on a range of merchandise. Products that bear the plaque’s wording, alongside a graphic of the 3-fingered salute adopted by protesters, are now being sold online by canny entrepreneurs.

Those who support the pro-democracy movement can now purchase a range of products allowing them to advertise their political stance. A report in Coconuts says buyers may want to consider a key ring for 112 baht, or a smartphone cover for 199 baht. T-shirts are available from 300 baht, as well as baseball caps in a variety of colours.

Meanwhile, in the south of the country, where surfers may find current seasonal conditions favourable, the Phang Nga Progressive Movement is selling surfboards for around 20,000 baht. The marketing blurb for the 8 foot boards encourages surfers to “feel freedom on the waves, practice surfing over dictatorship”.

On Sunday, protest leaders installed the People’s Plaque in Sanam Luang, next to the Grand Palace. Its wording translates as, “At this place the people have expressed their will, that this country belongs to the people and is not the property of the monarch as they have deceived us.”

Just hours after its installation, the plaque was pulled out of the ground, with protesters facing charges for having installed it at a registered historical site without permission. While the messaging is now getting out through other channels, it’s not clear if pro-democracy groups will benefit in any way from the sale of merchandise.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Protests

Jailed activists Penguin and Ammy finally granted bail

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Penguin and Ammy have finally been granted bail. (via Facebook_เพนกวิน - พริษฐ์ ชิวารักษ์_Parit_Chiwarak)

Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, the high-profile student activist leader that has been jailed for months, has finally been granted bail after 10 requests. Another student protester champion, singer Chaiamorn “Ammy the Bottom Blues” Kaewwiboonpan, was also released yesterday. Both activists were being held without bail in Bangkok Remand Prison, charged under Thailand’s strict lèse majesté laws that prohibit anyone from speaking out against the royal family.

As a condition of their bail and release, the activists are barred from taking part in any activities including protesting, organising or giving speeches, that are in any way against Thailand’s royalty. They were made to pledge to respect and not to dishonour the monarchy as a condition of their release. The activist leaders will have to follow a schedule of reporting to the court and are not permitted to leave the country without prior permission.

According to the Court’s ruling, the nature of their cases had changed since this was the first time that they agreed to the conditions silencing them from further protesting. Public prosecutors then saw no reason to oppose bail for the activists. Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, another influential student activist that had been on a hunger strike in prison with Penguin, was released last week as well.

Penguin has been held since February 9, with his mother advocating for his release with growing desperation after 9 previous bail denials for the activist. He spent 93 days in custody and launched a 59-day hunger strike that saw him recently hospitalised and needing emergency assistance. His bail was 200,000 baht for each of two charges against him, one for the Mob Fest and one for the Ratsadon plaque incident. His release is precarious though as more than 20 previously unprosecuted charges of defamation against the royal family could technically see him re-arrested at any point.

Ammy had been in jail since the beginning of March for 70 days pending trial for both arson and the lèse majesté charges. He received bail of 50,000 baht for the Ratsadon plaque incident, but his main infraction was being accused of setting a portrait of the royal family on fire at Khlong Prem Central Prison in Bangkok on February 28, for which bail was set for 200,000 baht.

A third activist, Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jadnok, had to have his bail hearing postponed yesterday to be retested for Covid-19 after having been in close contact with Arnon Nampa, a jailed activist lawyer who contracted Covid-19 in prison. Though testing negative for the Coronavirus last week, a second test was required before he would be allowed to be released.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News and Bangkok Post

 

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Protests

University student carves “112” into chest after being charged with violating lèse-majesté law

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Stock photo via Thai PBS World

A Chiang Mai University student now has the numbers of “112” carved across his chest after using a razor blade on himself in defiance of the Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lèse-majesté law. The student took to cutting himself after arriving at the police station to face charges of violating the law. He was also charged with breaching the National Flag Act.

The 23 year old student and his colleague, are facing charges brought by political activist Srisuwan Janya after the duo allegedly placed an altered Thai national flag, featuring critical words against the monarchy, at an exhibition site at the university. Police tried to prevent him from harming himself further, as Vitthaya claimed it was an act of freedom of expression, but he was taken to the police station for first-aid treatment. The other student told reporters that he did not amend the Thai flag as police alleged, citing again, that it was a work of art. Both students are now released, but must come back to report themselves on May 31.

Thasanai Sethaseree, a university lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts, says the use of the Thai national flag in a work of art does not constitute a violation of the Thai National Flag Act. However, the lecturer didn’t comment on whether the words adorning the flag would constitute a violation of the lèse-majesté law, or Section 112 of the Criminal Code of Thailand.

Last Thursday, jailed student activist leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul was granted bail of 200,000 baht after repeated denials of bail requests over the last 2 months. Rung was detained on charges using Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws that carry a 15-year maximum sentence for insulting the royal monarchy and has been held without bail since March 8.

She joined her fellow activist leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak on March 30 in his hunger strike to protest the bail denials. Penguin was recently hospitalised over health concerns due to his hunger strike that began March 16.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Protests

Activist Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul granted bail

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul is finally free on bail. (via Wikimedia)

Jailed student activist leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul has been granted bail of 200,000 baht today after repeated denials of bail requests over the last 2 months. Rung was detained on charges using Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws that carry a 15-year maximum sentence for insulting the royal monarchy and has been held without bail since March 8.

She joined her fellow activist leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak on March 30 in his hunger strike to protest the bail denials. Penguin was recently hospitalised over health concerns due to his hunger strike that began March 16.

Rung was granted bail just after 5 pm by the criminal court, with conditions. The 22 year old activist was ordered to wear a monitoring device and not do anything that the court could deem damaging to the monarchy.

After 59 days in jail and 36 days without food in her protest for freedom, the release is a pivot by the government, which has denied fellow activist Penguin’s request for bail 9 times already. Many of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement are still being detained, even after Covid-19 has infected one from within the prison.

Rung rose to national fame after a passionate speech at Thammasat University where she is a student on August 10. She recounted a 10-point manifesto demanding reforms in the government and the monarchy. She became a familiar face in the growing movement that has been fueled since last July by students and young protesters, demonstrating almost daily despite the harsh punishment the government could hand down using the lese majeste laws.

SOURCE: Coconuts

 

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