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Thai anti-government group to reach outskirts of Bangkok after 250 kilometre walk

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Thai anti-government group to reach outskirts of Bangkok after 250 kilometre walk | Thaiger

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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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    L.F.

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Great people, very courageous, under the sun, along the main road. We went to meet them at their camp site in Muak Lek, 3 kilometeres from our house to cheer them up with a few cold beers. Met a nurse lady, who spent more than 3 years in jail for only helping protesters few years ago.
    It was big, well organized with music and plenty of food.
    What heroes!

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    They should consider asylum in the USA.
    One just granted after application in 2017 for making comments about the king.

  3. Avatar

    Ian

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    My heart goes out to these brave people and Toby no and I don’t normally disagree with you but no asylum stay and fight build the movement until the government falls it can be done just need hundreds of thousands on the streets and not negative comments from I’m all right jack farangs on thier state pensions in issan

  4. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 4:40 am

    Comment of the week Ian,,,,, that’s the way.

  5. Avatar

    Slugger

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    Good that you refer to them as anti-Government rather than pro-democracy. Shame that you reverted in the body of the article. They’re tilting at windmills.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Protests

Red paint in Burmese streets mark 700+ deaths

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Red paint in Burmese streets mark 700+ deaths | Thaiger
A note from a protester on the streets of Yangon: “Dear UN, How are you? I hope you are well. As for Myanmar, we are dying.”

Marking over 700 deaths in the Burmese military crackdown, anti-coup protesters in Myanmar are splashing red paint across the streets of Yangon to represent the blood of those killed in the growing crisis. Myanmar has ground to a halt as the military junta attempt to silence opposition to their February 1 takeover with deadly force. 714 deaths have been verified by local monitoring groups, but they warn the actual number may be much higher.

The economy and daily functioning of the country is immobile, the internet has been cut off to many citizens, even Myanmar’s Thingyan New Year festival, similar to Thailand’s Songkran holiday, has been cancelled. Instead of water fights in the street, protesters explained they used the holiday to draw a parallel, splashing red paint “blood” instead to draw attention to the Burmese deaths at the hands of the military.

“The purpose of the “bleeding strike” is to remember the martyrs who died in the struggle for democracy. We should not be happy during this festival time. We have to feel sadness for the martyrs who are bleeding and we must continue to fight this battle in any way we can.”

Simple but powerful signs and notes were found amongst the blood protest with phrases like, “blood has not dried on the streets,” “overthrow the era of fear,” and “hope our military dictatorship fails.” Perhaps most poignant was a note found on red-painted streets reading, “Dear UN, How are you? I hope you are well. As for Myanmar, we are dying.”

The UN fears that a Syrian-style conflict is around the corner for Myanmar, calling on countries to take immediate steps against the military junta, citing possible crimes against humanity. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet draws the Syria comparison, worried a full-blown Burmese civil war could parallel the Syrian war that has led to 400,000 deaths and 6 million refugees. While some countries have enacted sanctions, infighting has delayed meaningful action with the EU claiming Russia and China are blocking possible UN arms embargos.

Meanwhile, the military added many more people to the list of over 260 people including doctors and celebrities they are seeking to arrest for crimes such as spreading dissent or treating injured protesters. 7 protesters in Yangon, 3 in absentia, were sentenced to death for the alleged murder of a suspected informant.

In the northwest of Myanmar, a milk delivery couple were killed by military storming the town of Tamu. And in the Mandalay region, protesters drove motorbikes with red flags supporting imprisoned leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia

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Myanmar

$85 to retrieve the dead after bloody Burmese military clash

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$85 to retrieve the dead after bloody Burmese military clash | Thaiger
PHOTO: Bago was the site of a bloody crackdown yesterday.

Activists say the Burmese military is charging US$85 to families to recover the bodies that security forces killed in last Friday’s violent clash. The city of Bago, just northeast of Yangon, was raided by military forces with 82 people killed according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local advocacy group. Since the February 1 coup, the military has been systematically cracking down against peaceful protesters, detaining 3,000 civilians and killing over 700 more.

Eyewitnesses in Bago say the Burmese military used grenades, RPGs, and assault rifles to quell anti-coup protestors, forcing many villagers and activists to flee and go into hiding. Military security forces are going through the neighbourhoods now and have cut off internet access. Burmese forces claimed they were attacked by protestors while removing road barriers, alleging that demonstrators used homemade guns, shields, grenades, arrows and fire bottles.

In the aftermath of the bloody clash, the military charged families 120,000 Burmese Kyat (about $85) to collect the bodies of lost relatives. This was reported by Bago University Students’ Union’s Facebook page as well as Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service.

NGO Human Rights Watch had published a call for the European Union to take action and implement strict sanctions on the Burmese military on Thursday. And yesterday the US Embassy in Myanmar joined the call, posting on Twitter, urging peace.

“We mourn the senseless loss of life in Bago and around the country where regime forces have reportedly used weapons of war against civilians. The regime has the ability to resolve the crisis and needs to start by ending violence and attacks.”

A volunteer doctor who chairs the Red Cross in Bago had been detained by the Burmese military police on April 2, and yesterday a second volunteer doctor was taken after administering free medical aid to protestors, according to his family.

Meanwhile, the military’s commander-in-chief and another spokesman maintain that the Burmese military are peacekeepers, trying to strengthen the democratic system of Myanmar by safeguarding the country and investigating a fraudulent election. They deny that they seized power and blame the violence and death in the country on protestors rioting.

SOURCE: CNN

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Protests

Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests

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Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests | Thaiger
PHOTO: Demonstration attendance has been falling in the face of Covid-19, coups and crackdowns.

While protesters against the Thai government are continuing as they have for endless months, attendance is lessening in the face of crackdowns, coups and Covid-19. The throngs of 10,000 plus protesters, mostly energetic youth, that waved The Hunger Games 3 finger salute and demanded change in Thailand last summer have thinned to a few thousand or less these days.

The government isn’t in the clear yet though, as the protester’s calls to replace the current government, lessen the power of the Thai monarchy, and draw up a new constitution are still popular ideas. But a number of factors are causing protester size and vigour to wane.

The second wave of Covid in December quickly curbed the daily demonstrations for fear of spreading the virus. After that, the coup in Myanmar on February 1 has brought massive protests with international attention shifting to the growing humanitarian crisis just across the border. On top of the pandemic and the Burmese coup, the Thai government has taken a much more hardline approach to protesters in recent months.

Police began fighting back against mass demonstrations, dispersing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And after 2 years of leniency, the government has begun prosecuting people under the strict lèse-majesté laws, where offending the monarchy can carry harsh punishment including a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Anon Nampa, a human-rights lawyer, and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a student activist, have already been arrested under this law and held without bail. Arrests like these have been demoralising for the pro-democracy movement, and have scared away a lot of Thai protesters. Many have shifted focus to more immediate efforts to demand the release of the detained protest leaders.

Even with the crowds shrinking, the protests have already brought about change, bringing once unspeakable conversations into the national conversation, and keeping pressure on Thailand’s leaders. Opposition is growing, with efforts to push no-confidence votes and amendments to the constitution being constantly proposed and advocated.

SOURCE: The Economist

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