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Protest leaders face charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law and for installing the plaque

Caitlin Ashworth

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Leaders of the weekend’s pro-democracy protest in Bangkok are facing charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and installing a symbolic plaque at a “registered historical site”. Police filed complaints against 10 to possibly more than 16 protesters.

It’s unclear how many protesters will be charged, but the Royal Thai Police spokesperson Piya Uthayo says charges will be pressed against those who “pulled the strings.” He says the Chanasongkhram Police have received several lèse majesté complaints. Under the lèse majesté law, it is illegal to insult or defame the Thai Monarch or royal family. Piya says police will take the strongest legal actions possible against those who undermined the Monarchy.

A lèse majesté complaint was filed by a leader of the pro-government “multi-coloured shirts movement” Tul Sittisomwong who said the protesters had “once again crossed the line,” according to the Bangkok Post.

“I don’t mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy.”

The Bangkok Post reports that around 10 protesters will be charged with violating the Public Assembly Act and Criminal Code while 4 people will be charged with violating the lèse majesté law. Thai PBS estimates at least 16 people face charges for violating the lèse majesté law and installing the plaque.

Protesters installed a plaque on the forecourt of the royal parade grounds, aka. Sanam Luang, next to the Grand Palace. The pro-democracy plaque symbolically renamed the area Sanam Ratsadon, or “People’s Ground”. The plaque disappeared and the spot was covered with concrete less than 24 hours after being embedded by the protesters early on Sunday morning. Police say they removed the plaque because it would be used as evidence against protest leaders.

The Fine Arts Department and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration filed complaints with police over the installation of the plaque, saying the protesters broke the law by causing damage to an archaeological site. The department says the plaque installation violates the Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums Act, as Sanam Luang is a historical site protected by law. The removal of another historic plaque in 2017, commemorating the Siam Revolution in 1932, when Thailand’s absolute monarchy was overthrown by a constitutional monarchy, was not reported by the same organisations.

Authorities also claim rally leaders broke into Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus and entered the grounds of Sanam Luang without permission. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration also asked police to take action against protesters who destroyed barriers and fences at the university as well as the damage done when installing the plaque at Sanam Luang, according to Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy spokesperson (the concrete has already been replaced after being torn out of the cement sometime on the early hours of Monday morning).

“The protesters damaged BMA properties and violated the Act on the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

196 Chaeng Wattana Road construction camp workers test positive for Covid-19

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A construction camp off Bangkok’s Chaeng Wattana Road, which also features the Immigration Office, is reporting that 196 out of 300 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjaka made the announcement after an inspection of the camp ended in testing many for Covid. Tomorrow, another 500 workers at the camp are scheduled to take Covid tests. Then, on May 15, the Thai workers at the site will be tested. Siri says the construction camp is an at-risk area as the new infections need a more stringent approach, to keep the virus from spreading.

Meanwhile, a spike in daily new Covid-19 infections was reported in Thailand today with more than half of the 4,887 infections confirmed today linked to outbreaks at 2 Bangkok prisons. Thailand now has 32,661 active Covid-19 cases, a record high in Thailand since the start of the pandemic last year. There has been a total of 93,794 Covid-19 infections since last year, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

32 new Covid-related deaths were reported by the CCSA today, raising the pandemic’s death toll in Thailand to 518. A spokesperson for the CCSA says the patient fatalities continue to primarily be the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 vaccination hub opens at Central Plaza mall in Bangkok

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ ศาลาว่าการกรุงเทพมหานคร

A Covid-19 vaccination hub opened up at the Central Plaza Lardprao in Bangkok, making it the first immunisation centre outside a hospital. Yesterday, around 1,000 people were inoculated at the new centre after registering for a vaccine on the Mor Prom mobile application. Most of those vaccinated yesterday were government officers, volunteers or those who are at a high risk of infection.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Ramathibodi Hospital teamed up to open the centre at the Central Plaza shopping mall. The centre is open every day from 8:30am to 5pm.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha praised the private sector for backing the national Covid-19 immunisation campaign, adding the move may prompt more businesses to set up vaccination hubs. So far, more than a dozen vaccination centres, not including hospital sites, are planned to open up in Bangkok, Prayut says.

The Thai government set the ambitious goal of vaccinating 50 million people by the end of the year. The Thai government also plans to vaccinate 5 million people in Bangkok within the next 2 months in an effort to contain the outbreak in the capital. Vaccinations are now being sped up in high-risk areas such as Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum. So far, the number of people registering for a vaccine has been lower than expected.

“We must eradicate fears of the Covid-19 vaccine. The government can confirm that all the imported Covid-19 vaccines are thoroughly inspected… Our inspection is probably more stringent than in other countries.”

Prayut says the Thai government has secured 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and they are working on securing another 50 million doses. He adds that the AstraZeneca vaccine made locally by Siam Bioscience will be ready at the end of the month.

Covid-19 vaccination hub opens at Central Plaza mall in Bangkok | News by Thaiger

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ศาลาว่าการกรุงเทพมหานคร

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Walk-in vaccination centres planned to speed up rollout

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Walk-in vaccination centres are aiming to speed up mass rollout. (via Facebook)

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced plans for walk-in vaccination centres to accelerate Covid-19 vaccine distribution in Thailand. At a meeting of the National Committee on Vaccines, the decision was made to provide alternative channels to encourage more people to get the vaccine quickly. Also in the works is a plan to develop a new application to register for appointments.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had mentioned the idea of a walk-in service during a cabinet meeting Tuesday, saying that Thailand was well below target for vaccine registrations. The Department of Disease Control has been tasked with creating a simplified format to encourage registration for vaccines, with the goal of no one being rejected for a jab. The head of the DDC said they will do everything in their power to accelerate vaccine roll out.

Yesterday saw the first vaccination centre outside of a hospital when Central Plaza Ladprao launched a vaccine station with PM Prayut in attendance. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Ramathibodi Hospital worked together to launch the centre. Open from 8:30 am to 5 pm daily, 1,000 people were vaccinated at the station through the Mor Prom Line app yesterday, mostly government officers and Covid-19 volunteers as well as people designated as high-risk.

But the Mor Prom line account has not received nearly the amount of registrations that they had hoped, so this new plan is aimed at boosting sign-ups. Only 22 of Thailand’s 77 provinces registered more than 10,000 people through the Line account, with only 2 provinces getting 6-figure signups. 16 million people were targeted to get priority appointments through Mor Prom, people at high risk because of chronic disease or being over the age of 60.

The Prime Minister expressed hope that, with the success of Central Ladprao’s vaccination centre, other businesses will open similar jab stations in the near future. Plans are in place for up to 25 private vaccination centres in Bangkok followed by stations opening across the country. Locations and the number of jabs at each vaccination centre will be left to provincial governments to determine within their own committees on communicable disease.

Thailand’s immediate goal is to get all frontline workers and healthcare professionals vaccinated by the end of the month, and also focus on areas with high infection rates. Next month elderly and high-risk people will be the main target of mass vaccination, followed by the general public. PM Prayut also requested that people like delivery staff and public transportation drivers who travel for work, and staff in restaurants, hospitality, and convenience stores who interact with many people be given priority for vaccinations.

The Prime Minister stressed to the public that Thailand’s inspection process is more stringent than other countries and reassured that the Covid-19 vaccines administered in Thailand are completely safe.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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