A group of pro-democracy protestors, on an almost 250 kilometre walk, are expected to reach the outskirts of Bangkok today. The group has been walking for 17 days, starting from the Thao Suranaree statue in the north east to protest the imprisonment of 9 pro-democracy demonstrators who are being denied bail.
The demonstrators imprisoned include 4 protest leaders from Ratsadon. The 247 kilometre march, called “Walk Through the Sky.. Bring Back the People’s Power,” headed off on February 16. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, from the student-led protest group, is the spokesperson for the march and claims they have been held in jail without bail since February 9.
The 4 are facing charges under Article 112, the lese-majeste law, or the defamation of the Thai monarchy. Lese-majeste carries a jail sentence of 3 to 15 years. They are also facing charges of sedition under Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code, which carries a jail term of 7 years, as they are accused of organising pro-democracy rallies.
“The ignition and the fuel for the walk is simple. They have started to incarcerate our friends while denying their bail requests, which made it impossible for us to do nothing”, Pai told Thai Enquirer.
The court has denied the demonstrators bail requests 4 times now, citing flight risks and inflaming of the situation.
Pai said he “emphathises” with the detained protestors as he has been imprisoned for lese-majeste before. He says he has already spent 2 years and 6 months in prison for sharing a BBC Thai’s biography of the monarch on Facebook.
“A walk is a type of a fight against injustice and we choose to fight this way in order to peacefully spread the words about police brutality, the uses of various laws to silence dissidents, the plights of the poor and the mismanagement of the government’s covid-relief measures and natural resources”, he told Thai Enquirer.
The walk-in protest group is expected to reach Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, around 5:30 pm today. The protesters say they will camp out near the department store before a rally at the Bang Khen intersection tomorrow, in the northern suburbs of Bangkok. On Sunday, the march is expected to end at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.
SOURCE: Thai Enquirer
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