Detained key red-shirt figure Sombat urges people to stop protests against the coup

 
Sombat Boonngamanong, a prominent red-shirt figure, on Friday morning said he wants to be part of the reconciliation process, asking his followers to be more subtle when showing their opposition to the junta.
 
About a hundred people visited the red-shirt leader at the Bangkok Remand Prison at 11 am on Friday. When Sombat arrived at the visiting room, the visitors flashed three-finger salutes from the Hunger Games and the gesture of a dove and shouted his name and messages of moral support. 
 
Other political prisoners and lèse majesté prisoners, including Somyos Pruksakasemsuk, Jeng Dokjik, Ekkachai H., also showed up along with Sombat. 
 
Sombat told the media in the visiting cell that instead of gathering against the coup, protesters should show their opposition to the coup by wearing red shirts every Sunday. 
 
“History has recorded that people already came out to oppose the coup. We can now stop going out to protest the coup” Sombat said, adding that the people should focus on monitoring and keeping a close watch on the reform and reconciliation process. 
 
“They arrested me because they hoped that the [anti-coup] movement would then stop. If the movement stopped, I lost”, Sombat, aka “Nuling”, told Prachatai in the cell. “They want to wipe out all the doves.”
 
Sombat makes the gesture of a dove in front of his chest while the police take him to the military court to submit a custody petition.  The gesture suddenly became the latest symbol adopted by anti-coup protesters. 
 
Sombat was one of the first red-shirt activists to be summoned by the military. He was arrested on the night of June 5 at a house in eastern Chonburi Province where he had been hiding for two weeks. While he was hiding, he was politically very active in cyberspace. He successfully orchestrated an anti-coup gathering on Sunday June 1 at McDonald’s Ratchaprasong branch where a thousand people showed up without his presence. 
 
He was charged under Article 116 of the Criminal Code with defying the military’s orders which twice summoned him to meet the military, with sedition, and under the Computer Crime Act with disseminating on the internet information deemed a threat to national security. 
 
On Thursday while the police took Sombat to the military court to submit a custody petition. Sombat made the gesture of a dove in front of his chest. The gesture suddenly became the latest symbol adopted by anti-coup protesters. The court rejected his bail request.
 
Sombat said he anticipated he will be in jail for at least two years, or until the junta returned power to the people. While Sombat said he is ready to fight his case from jail, he said he is also ready to join the reconciliation process. “I’m a dove. There should be space for a dove [in the reconciliation process].” 
 
He added that the police are planning to charge him with lèse majesté to keep him in jail longer.  
 
Meanwhile Somyos Pruksakasemsuk told Prachatai that since three people have been charged with lèse majesté under the supervision of the military, he is concerned about the monarchy. 
 
Somyos, who has been at the Bangkok Remand Prison for more than three years, said so far 11 political prisoners have been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison since Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha staged the military coup d’état on May 22. 
 
                                      A Message Recorded Prior to Arrest: Sombat Boonngamanong to the People
                                     Open letter from Sombat's daughter to Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha