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

Protests

UPDATE: Bangkok protesters mass at the front of Government House, earlier PM addresses nation

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: Bangkok protesters mass at the front of Government House, earlier PM addresses nation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Earlier this evening the protesters gathered at the Victory Monument before heading to Government House - Facebook/Free Youth

UPDATE: The protesters announced that the rally would end and disperse peacefully at 9.35pm. They wrapped up the gathering after delivering a symbolic letter of demand for the prime minister’s resignation at the front of Government Hose. Apart from some earlier scuffles with police around 7pm, there were no major incidents this evening.

EARLIER: Happening at Bangkok’s Government House around 9pm…

Protesters started arriving around 7.30pm, again demanding the PM’s resignation, and even had a letter prepared for him to sign, PM Prayut was not at Government Hose at the time. Protesters continued to amass at the front of Government House after breaking through a police cordon at Urupong Intersection. Earlier they gathered at the Victory Monument roundabout (and BTS station).

Police have blocked off the entrance to Government House with 2 public buses, barbed wire and police dressed in riot gear that have been shipped in from Saraburi Province. Protesters are already preparing for a potential confrontation and are dressing in raincoats, hardhats, goggles and armed with umbrellas, presumably in anticipation of another spray from the water cannons. They continue to shout “Prayut, get out!” Protest leaders are also calling on the growing crowd to remain “chilled” and not resort to violence.

“If he won’t resign, we won’t go home.”

Behind the 2 buses there are also the high powered water cannons which were used against protesters last Friday night at the Prathunwan intersection in central Bangkok. Despite the calls for the continuation of a peaceful protest, both sides appear ready for some conflict this evening. Earlier protesters were demanding the release of some of the movement leaders who continue to be arrested with an array of charges, some still in detention in prisons north of the city.

The Prime Minister appeared on television tonight at 7pm and committed to the Thai people to help resolve the current impasse between the widening protest movement and the Government. He went on to say that his government “is prepared to withdraw emergency rules banning large gatherings in Bangkok” if the growing protest movement “remains peaceful”.

“At this point, we all need to take a step back, to step back from the brink, away from the path that would plunge Thailand into disaster.”

PM Prayut did no address the issue of the demands for his resignation.

An emergency session of Parliament has been scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday where opposition parties say they will challenge the government coalition to address the demands of the protesters, including the tetchy issue of reforming the role of the Thai monarchy.

UPDATE: Bangkok protesters mass at the front of Government House, earlier PM addresses nation | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Samut Prakan woman bitten by snake while using the toilet

Caitlin Ashworth

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Samut Prakan woman bitten by snake while using the toilet | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: @v2maungprakarn

A python has bitten a woman on her backside and finger while using the toilet at a home in Samut Prakan, southeast of Bangkok. Rescue volunteers were called to her home, and said there was a lot of blood at the scene. The woman was later taken to the hospital.

The incident may sound shocking to some, but in Thailand, reports of snakes biting people who are on the toilet isn’t that uncommon. Snakes can live and thrive in the sewers, usually hunting down rats, and sometimes enter pipes leading up to the toilet bowls.

Just last month, an 18 year old university in Nonthaburi, a suburb just west of Bangkok, was bitten on his penis by a python that was in the toilet bowl. He had to get 3 stitches. Another man’s penis was bit by a snake while he was using the bathroom last year. He ended up with 15 stitches.

คุณพระ ! งูโผล่โถส้วมกัดเลือดสาด วันนี้เวลา​ 21:00 น….

Posted by ข่าวสารเมืองปราการ v2 on Monday, 19 October 2020

SOURCE:Facebook

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Protests

One more person faces possible life sentence for alleged acts during royal motorcade

Caitlin Ashworth

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One more person faces possible life sentence for alleged acts during royal motorcade | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter: @SAHINOP

Police have issued an additional arrest warrant for a protester who allegedly attempted to “harm the HM the Queen’s liberty” during a royal motorcade last week. The motorcade happened to be on the same day and same route as a pro-democracy protest in Bangkok. So far, 3 protesters face charges for an alleged “act of violence against the HM the Queen’s liberty” and could face up to life in prison if found guilty.

Suranat Paenprasert, a coordinator for Active Youth, now faces charges of 16 to 20 years in prison, or even up to life in prison, for allegedly violating Section 110 of Thailand’s Criminal Code which prohibits acts of violence against the HM the Queen or Her liberty.

Section 110: Violence against the Queen

Whoever commits an act of violence against the Queen or Her liberty, the Heir-apparent or His liberty, or the Regent or his/her liberty, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of sixteen to twenty years.

2 other protesters, Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Boonkueanoon Paothong, also face the same charges of alleged “violence against the Queen’s liberty” during the royal motorcade. The New York Times reports the “act of violence” was apparently yelling at the royal motorcade. In photos, crowds of protesters were seen on the royal motorcade route holding their hands up in the 3-finger salute, a symbol of defiance.

Many of the protesters were also shouting “our taxes”, in Thai, at the occupants of the yellow Rolls Royce.

Ekkachai and Boonkueanoon may also face charges under Thailand’s lèse majesté law under Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, according to an earlier report from the Bangkok Post. If found guilty, the additional charge would make their punishment more severe.

Section 112: Insulting or Defaming the Royal Family

Whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | New York Times

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