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Protests

Yellow ducks dominate at Bangkok pro-democracy rally

Maya Taylor

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Yellow ducks dominate at Bangkok pro-democracy rally | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AP / Sakchai Lalit
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Yesterday’s anti-government protest at the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank in Bangkok was dominated by one prominent symbol – the yellow duck. Having been used at protests in Hong Kong earlier this year, the rubber duck has also become a regular feature at the Thai protests, a symbol of mutual support between both pro-democracy movements.

At yesterday’s rally outside the SCB building, the duck could be seen everywhere, with enterprising vendors selling t-shirts, toys, hats, torches and hair pins, all bearing the yellow duck’s image. Thai PBS World reports that 3,000 coupons, worth 10 baht each, were distributed to people who could use them to purchase the souvenirs. Protest leader Parit Chiwarak made his appearance at 3pm, wearing a yellow duck costume.

Meanwhile, 87 year old renowned academic Sulak Srivaraksa arrived to address the crowd, accompanied by an assistant and moving with the aid of a walking stick. He used his speech to condemn the use of the lèse majesté law against protesters. He pointed out that the late King Bhumibol had described use of the law (Section 112 of the Criminal Code) as an assault on him and that invoking it undermined the Monarchy.

He has called out PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on the invocation of the law, adding that His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn has previously also asked that Section 112 not be used. Sulak has demanded the PM’s resignation, accusing him of undermining the Monarchy and bullying His Majesty the King.

“Why doesn’t Prayut comply with the late King’s wish?”

Yesterday’s protest was originally set to take place at the Crown Property Bureau, but organisers took to social media the night before to announce a change of location to the SCB headquarters. Protest leaders say the change was to avoid a confrontation with royalists, who they claim were being deliberately sent to provoke them.

The last-minute change caused chaos for police, who ended up being thin on the ground at the new location, with thousands already deployed at the original CPB site. They had also trucked in around 80 containers to use as barricades that would prevent protesters from getting near the CPB building. Police later had to apologise for the traffic chaos caused by the containers, with routes blocked and motorists and public buses inconvenienced by the heavy congestion.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Thailand’s PM asks people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s PM asks people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM is asking people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health due to the recent cooler weather. As the country is still not out of the woods with the recent Covid-19 breakout, the cold weather, in the northern half of the country, is adding to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s health concerns for Thai people.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri says the situation still warrants the government’s role to exercise its power under the emergency decree and Communicable Disease Act to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

He says all gatherings should be avoided, but is emphasising political ones and is thanking the “majority who have cooperated.” Now, he says the government is set to introduce more measures to help those affected by the new round of Covid and are preparing new economic stimulus programs.

Anucha says another high pressure system from China will cover northern Thailand starting from today and lasting through January 19. The system would see temperatures drop by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in the northern and central areas of Thailand with the northeastern area seeing a drop of 4 to 6 degrees. PM Prayut has also asked people to be careful when setting up bonfires to keep warm during the cold spell.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Student arrested in dormitory at night, charged with lèse majesté offences

Maya Taylor

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Student arrested in dormitory at night, charged with lèse majesté offences | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TLHR Twitter / Lawyer Center for Human Rights

A student at Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus has been arrested and charged with violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law. Ironically, it was his calls for the law to be abolished that led to Sirichai Natueng, aka, “New”, being charged. The group, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, has confirmed the student’s arrest on its Twitter page.

After being taken into custody, the pro-democracy activist was driven to Khlong Luang police station, in the central province of Pathum Thani, just outside Bangkok. Other anti-government activists, including Parit Chiwarak, aka, “Penguin”, and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul (“Rung”) followed, accompanied by representatives from TLHR.

Since the arrest, the hashtags #saveนิวมธ (Save New) and #ยกเลิกม112 (Cancel Section 112) have been trending on Twitter. Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code is the law governing lèse majesté, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Sirichai, a member of the pro-democracy group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, has been charged with 2 lèse majesté offences. He is accused of defacing an image of the Monarchy, as well as the Rangsit campus sign, with graffiti calling for the abolition of the lèse majesté law.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Leaders of German Embassy rally meet with police, prosecutors

Maya Taylor

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Leaders of German Embassy rally meet with police, prosecutors | The Thaiger
PHOTO: iLaw

13 political activists who led thousands of protesters to the German Embassy in Bangkok last October have met with police and prosecutors in the capital. They face charges of violating section 112 of the Criminal Code for the October 26 rally at the embassy. The aim of the gathering was to submit a petition calling on the German government to ascertain if His Majesty the King was conducting state business from Germany. Section 112 of the Criminal Code is also known as the lèse majesté law, which prohibits criticism or defamation of the Monarchy. Violators could face up to 15 years in prison.

During yesterday’s meeting at Thung Maha Mek police station, officers were on duty in front of the station, to bolster security, while others in plain clothes photographed those who’d turned up in a show of solidarity with the 13 activists. The rally at the German Embassy was organised by the pro-democracy group, Khana Ratsadorn. The group’s leaders face multiple other charges in addition to lèse majesté.

One protest leaders, named as Atthapol Buaphat, aka, “”Khru Yai”, says the group is waiting to see if prosecutors press ahead with charges. He says they have provided additional handwritten evidence to police and asked officers to question more witnesses. Another leader, Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, says she just received a summons issued 2 months after an October 14 rally. She adds that the resurgence in Covid-19 means pro-democracy activists are pausing their political action but vows that it will resume again at some point.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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