The summoning of student activists supporting the red-shirt movement was unbecoming for a government claiming to be democratic, said one of three student activists summoned to the 11th Infantry Regiment by the Centre for Emergency Situation Resolution.
"I have never encountered any democratic government behaving in such a harassing way in front of my house," said Suluck Lamubon, a fourth year history student at Chulalongkorn University and member of the Student Federation of Thailand (SFT) executive committee.
Suluck was visited at home by half a dozen police on Saturday and ordered to report to the centre on Sunday or face an arrest warrant.
No lawyer was allowed to accompany the three students inside the centre as they faced a "psychological operation" at the compound through three phases of interrogation.
Suluck was asked whether anyone on the red-shirt stage had said anything regarded as "anti-monarchist," or if she knew leftist Red Siam faction leader Surachai Sae-darn.
"I felt irritated," said 22-year-old Suluck who added that two interviewers did not identify themselves to her. "They treated us as if we're criminals."
Towards the end of the five-hour session, the activists tried to turn the tables by asking for a transport fee home, but the officers refused to offer a single baht.
"It was ugly. I told them I heard the military budget was big, isn't it? They were caught off guard and simply evaded the issue and said if we didn't show up again they would issue an arrest warrant," said Suluck, adding that her political commitment hasn't wavered following the incident, although her father was upset.
Another student activist, Anuthee Dejthevaporn, secretary general of SFT, went up on the red-shirt stage on Sunday night, hours after being summoned, to denounce the government.
"If Thailand is a democracy I would not need to report myself there. We faced the kind of interrogation which doesn't exist in a democratic society. They used the word 'exchanging of views' in the meeting - but it was in fact an attempt to dominate our thinking and beliefs. We need to fight on as it reminded us we are fighting a bureaucratic-aristocratic order that was not elected," Anuthee told the crowd.
In a related development, prachatai.com on-line independent newspaper was blocked again by the government yesterday after its new address became accessible. Its latest site is now at prachata1.com.
Prachatai's note: www.prachatai.info as of 7 May.