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Protests

Protest leader calls on rally “guards” to refrain from violence

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Prachathai

Prominent human rights lawyer and protest leader, Anon Nampa, is calling on guards at anti-government rallies to remain peaceful. He says that getting violent will only harm the movement and play into the hands of the government. According to a Bangkok Post report, Anon credits his next door neighbour in Chiang Mai for the advice.

“Last night, while I drank alcohol, which an aunt next door brought me to go with barbecued pork, we discussed a wide range of political topics. She said if guards on the front line stick to a peaceful approach and do not break ranks, we will win. I slept on it and agreed. The front line, which the dictatorship wants to de-legitimise, is guards. If our guards break ranks and get involved in clashes or do anything that appears to be violent, this will deal a blow to the entire movement. On the contrary, if guards remain calm and use peaceful means, we will win.”

His comments come as Bangkok police say they are continuing investigations after a smoke bomb was allegedly thrown at officers at a rally on Sunday. However, the leader of the We Volunteer group, Piyarat Chongthep, claims smoke bombs were used to defend protesters against the high power water cannons deployed by police.

Meanwhile, the People’s Movement has issued an apology following an incident in Pattaya, on Sunday night, in which an irate protester head-butted a Russian man who was watching on with his daughter and wife. The protester, named as Narathiwat Khamma and also known as “Kane” or “Ken”, has been released from custody on 10,000 baht bail, but faces criminal charges.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has weighed in on the latest developments, warning both sides to refrain from violence and pointing out that the attack on the Russian man has damaged Thailand’s reputation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Chan o Cho Cha’s comment that head butting the Russian has damaged Thailand’s reputation, is similar to the report of a London gangster that sued a newspaper, claiming the newspaper damaged his good reputation.
    The judge ruled he did not have a good reputation to damage.
    Thailand is fast approaching that gangster’s level of reputation.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      So that’s why you left Thailand? Not because they wouldn’t extend your visa, so you had to run off to Cambodia instead where there’s definitely “no good reputation to damage” and it’s been run by the same gangster for the last 35 years?

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 2:26 pm

        No I did not apply to extend my visa in Thailand.
        I ran off to Cambodia because they shut the bars in Thailand, and I guessed what the idiot Thais would do next, curfews, alcohol bans, no walking on the beach, no standing together, emergency powers, which means basically they can do what they want!
        And as gangsters go, Cambodia gangsters are a much better class of gangsters than the Thailand gangsters.
        Nothing has been banned here, and not one death from the virus . . .

  2. Avatar

    D

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Peaceful protests won’t change a thing.

    • Avatar

      Gordons233

      Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Mahatma Gandhi?

    • Avatar

      Kim

      Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:31 pm

      It’s not only the attack on the Russian fellow. Locals in Phuket have also incited physical assault on foreigners via facebook et al and government officials describing foreigners as dirty etc. It’s a disingenuous marketing strategy they carry out at present. Add on top of that the overcharging on transportation, hotel accommodation, FnB, national parks etc etc. If this happened to a Thai overseas, they would cry foul and play the racism card immediately.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm

        But it happens to Asians “overseas” all the time, as it does to all who obviously aren’t locals!

        Pretending it doesn’t and this is some form of isolated Thai phenomena is as disingenuous as it is absurd.

        • Avatar

          Kim

          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 4:16 pm

          Oh. That’s a very ambitious claim. I guess you have proof? We are all waiting in patience to hear where not only Asians but also other foreigners are overcharged and where it is publicly enforced as well eg national parks etc.

        • Avatar

          maxcorrigan

          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 7:55 pm

          Where does it happen to Asians overseas exactly? i travelled a lot in the Uk Northern Ireland and the European continent and USA with my Thai wife not once was she ever singled out as an Asian, as i would be here in Thailand so as said where does it happen? or is it one of your usual ridiculous statements!

        • Avatar

          maxcorrigan

          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 8:03 pm

          Exactky where does it happen to Asians Overseas then?

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Latest news, Anon Nampa resigns and hands over his role as a leader to his aunt next door.
    His aunt next door is traveling to the next protest with a stall to sell barbequed port to the police.
    She stated: A well fed policeman is less likely to whack a protestor over the head with a baton.

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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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Protests

Activist lawyer contracts Covid-19 in prison

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Activiets lawyer Arnon Nampa has been infected with Covid-19 in prison. (via Wikimedia)

Arnon Nampa, an activist lawyer in jail without bail since February on lese majeste charges has been infected with Covid-19, according to his Facebook page. An anonymous source at the Corrections Department confirmed with Reuters that Arnon had tested positive yesterday and has been sent to the prison hospital for treatment. The department later released a press statement confirming the activist he had Covid-19.

Held without bail for more than 3 months, Arnon has been a leader in the pro-democracy demonstration calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, along with a revision of power for the Thai royal family. The protests had gained momentum last summer and still maintain widespread support though the government has cracked down on marches and demonstrations. They have discouraged political dissent by using the lese majeste law, which carries harsh penalties of up to 15 years in jail for anyone who insults royalty in Thailand.

Arnon, who is 36 years old, confirmed this morning he was being taken to the Medical Correctional Hospital in the Chatuchak District of Bangkok. He has been a key legal advisor who helped activists voice a push for reform that was previously unspeakable in Thailand. Once only whispered in private conversations, the call for reform has now been thrust into the spotlight by student protests.

Thailand has seen several outbreaks of Covid-19 within the prison system throughout the country. Clusters in Narathiwat that later spread to Surat Thani prisons as well, and outbreaks in larger prisons in Chiang Mai and Bangkok have recorded about 475 coronavirus infections within prison walls.

The jailed attorney is one of many protesters and activist leaders who have been held for weeks or months without bail on lese majeste charges. 22 year olds Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul are both on a hunger strike to protest being denied bail multiple times. Penguin was hospitalized last week after his health condition worsened, and there are reports that his trial may be delayed after the activist was exposed to Covid-19 by being held in a cell with a prisoner later confirmed to be infected.

SOURCE: Reuters and Coconuts

 

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Protests

Anti-coup Burmese protesters take up military training in jungles of Myanmar

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Burmese military camp via CNN

Members of Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement, including doctors and students, are taking up military training in the jungles, where they fled to escape a violent crackdown by the junta. Crawling on the ground towards their target of a small village isn’t just in preparation for a simulated clash-the training is to help protect them while they continue to resist the February 1 coup.

Small villages in the country’s ethnic border regions are now hosting white and blue collar workers as they learn how to survive military style in the wake of the Tatmadaw, or Myanmar army’s, takeover. The coup, came after opposition to last November’s democratic election which saw the National League for Democracy party win in a landslide. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Laureate, and head of the NLD party was arrested, along with other leading members of the party. The Tatmadaw argued that the elections were riddled with fraud, but has yet to give any evidence.

Since February 1, the situation in Myanmar has been dire, with innocent civilians being murdered in the streets, with the UN saying the military is likely committing crimes against humanity. As the news of the political situation in the Southeast Asian country hit worldwide, several countries have issued sanctions against the army and its leaders. But, so far, those sanctions have been in vain as the junta is refusing to compromise at the very least.

Now, as the situation continues to escalate, people from all walks of life are fleeing into the jungle with some taking up the Karen National Defense Organisation’s free basic training programme to arm themselves with military-style skills, including learning how to shoot a gun. The chief of staff, Nerdah Bo Mya, seems to be doing his part in helping civilians fight back against the junta.
“This is a responsibility to protect life. If we don’t train them who’s going to help them?”
Nerdah says none of the 200 anti-coup demonstrators that he has seen at the camp, have ever held a gun before, with many still attending university. He says the free training also teaches them first aid techniques and basic marksmanship.
“They’re quite young, their age is around 24, 25 and some are nurses and also some doctors and medical staff.”
For students to seek training from ethnic armies shows how dangerous the situation is in Myanmar. Now, those being trained in the camps say they will come back and train the rest of the protesters. But Nerdah says he is aware that a bit of basic training is no match for the Tatmadaw. He says the CDM members need weapons in order to have a chance in standing up against the Tatmadaw, but would not say whether his group was supplying any, or whether learning how to make a bomb was included in the basic training.
“We told them they have to be wise and we have to fight with our head and not with our heart.”
The KNDO is not the only ethnic group offering CDM members free training. Videos from other ethnic areas show recruits chanting things like “for the people,” “for our freedom,” and “for our independence.”
Nerdah says anti-coup protesters are worried that, if the situation drags on, the world will forget about them.
“They all look up to the American government for democracy and freedom and if Chinese and Russian governments can help the brutal corrupt military regime why the American government cannot help these people who are striving for freedom and democracy in Burma.”
So far, the junta has not commented on the knowledge of protesters receiving basic training, but did publish a statement in the state-run New Light of Myanmar, asking those who have travelled to ethnic areas or even overseas, to return home. But as the tactics to quell the opposition are bloodier by the day, such a request remains in vain. Since the coup, more than 760 people have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, also noting that the actual death toll is probably much higher.
SOURCE: CNN

 

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