Police snatch banners of workers gathering on International Women’s Day

Thai police have confiscated banners of textile workers rallying on International Women’s Day and checked their identification cards to see if the workers are Thai.

Jittra Cotchadet, a well-known labour activist, on Tuesday morning, 8 March 2016, posted a message on her Facebook page that police officers from Chanasongkram Police Station, Bangkok, intervened in a rally of workers of Try Arm, an underwear company founded by labour activists promoting fair labour conditions.

According to BBC Thai, about 400 female workers from various women’s rights groups on Tuesday morning participated in a rally from Victory Monument to Thammasat University, Tha Prachan Campus, in Bangkok on International Women’s Day.

Participating in the rally, Try Arm workers were calling for the rights to elections and abortion, and campaigning against the use of military courts to try civilians under the military regime.    

The officers cited Section 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives them absolute power to maintain national security to confiscate a banner of the group with the message ‘Stop [taking] civilians to the military court’ and another banner promoting rights to abortion and elections with Section 44 being crossed over, reported Jittra.

She added that the officers also attempted to verify the identities of workers to see if there are Thai by checking their ID cards. The police did not detain the workers. However, they said that the banners confiscated will be used as evidence.

Banners of Try Arm workers which were confiscated by the police (photo from Jittra Cotchadet)