Police detain 7 students over ‘Vote No’ t-shirt

The Thai police detained seven student activists after failing to force a member of the activist group to remove a t-shirt with a message saying ‘vote no’ in the draft charter referendum.

At least five police officers in uniform and plainclothes on Tuesday afternoon, 5 July 2016, detained seven students of an activist group called the Association of Students for Society from Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok.

The students were detained after the officers ordered Jirat Peta, one of the member of the group, to remove a t-shirt with a message saying ‘vote no’ in the draft constitution referendum during a university activity, but Jirat refused.

The police reasoned that wearing such t-shirt could be illegal and took Jirat and six other students from the group to Udomsuk Police Station.

The students are currently being interrogated by the police.

In May, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, Election Commissioner of Thailand, told the media that certain political groups might be charged under the Referendum Act for selling t-shirts with images or texts about the referendum on the draft constitution.

Article 61 of the Referendum Act imposes a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to 200,000 baht and loss of electoral rights for five years on anyone who publishes or distributes content about the draft constitution which deviates from the facts, contains rude and violent language, or threateningly discourages voters from participating in the referendum.

Police officers in uniform and plainclothes monitoring student activities in Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok, on 5 July 2016