Pro-democracy activist hit with 6 million baht fine for removal of plants at rally site

PHOTO: Facebook / Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul

Protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka “Rung”, has been hit with a fine of nearly 6 million baht, after removing plants at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument. Panusaya and 5 other activists have been charged with removing plants placed as decoration around the monument, during a political rally on February 13.

She says Samran Rat police station has ordered her to pay 5.9 million baht as a result of the action. She has also been charged with violation of the emergency decree and various disease control measures. In addition, she faces the serious charge of lèse majesté, following her role in a September 19 rally at the public square of Sanam Luang in Bangkok.

The Democracy Monument rally on February 13 was organised by the People’s Movement, calling for the release of 4 fellow activists. According to a Bangkok Post report, the plants were removed to make way for the rally. Another prominent pro-democracy activist, Panupong Jadnok, aka “Mike Rayong” accuses officials of deliberately planting the trees to create an obstruction. The rally ended in skirmishes with police at the Supreme Court, near Sanam Luang. Protesters were attempting to reach the Bangkok Pillar Shrine, but had their passage blocked by police.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the government banned mass gatherings, including political protests, ostensibly due to Covid-19 fears. The law has been published in the Royal Gazette, coming into effect on Saturday. However, activists from the People Go network defied the law over the weekend, gathering in protest at the Democracy Monument and calling for the release of the 4 activists held on lèse majesté charges.

Related news

Various groups, including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee, have criticised the government’s use of the country’s lèse majesté law, with Amnesty International describing it as an attempt to silence dissent.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Bangkok NewsThailand Protest News
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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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