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SOAS Students' Union: Statement in solidarity with student activists in Thailand

On May 22nd this year, students and anti-coup protestors from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) in Thailand staged peaceful protests to commemorate the first anniversary of the coup-detat orchestrated by the National Council for Peace and Order.
 
The coup toppled the democratically elected government of Thailand last year, and has since sought to suppress opposition, through banning political gatherings and debates. 
 
The protests were met with by the brutal military police, in which over 30 people were arrested as they were seen to have violated the Junta’s archaic laws of more than 5 people gathering. Since then, a further 14 students and activists were detained for almost two weeks. Their trial was marred by the intimidation of their lawyers as well further threats to them and their families. Although they have since been released, the charges against them have not been dropped, and their fight for innocence continues.  
 
The activists' demands were simple: democracy, human rights, justice and public participation in government.  The SOAS Students’ Union supports these demands, as we recognise their human rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. A criminal prosecution by the junta against peaceful protestors demanding democracy is a draconian measure to intimidate other activists from proposing change and must be resisted at all levels. These students need to be defended, in the same manner in which they have so bravely defended democracy in Thailand. and thus defended a principle increasingly in danger around the world.  The SOAS SU wishes to commend the bravery and courage they have shown in speaking up against the NCPO. For in doing so, they have spoken and acted on behalf of so many who could not.
 
In solidarity, 
SOAS Students' Union Executive