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Piyarat Chongthep: Down with dictatorship! Long live democracy

7 August 2016
 
As regards what happened today, I would like to inform state officials, the media, and the people that I was fully conscious of my actions. I am not mentally ill. I was neither on drugs nor was I drunk. 
 
My actions grew out of the consciousness of a citizen who only wishes to demand and stand firm for rights and freedom, which ought to be ours. Whatever the result, I will take responsibility for my actions. I will not run away or hide out of fear.
 
I will fight the case in a court that has used the power of dictatorship to distort the law’s legitimacy and democratic principles. I will fight the case in a judicial system that arrests and imprisons those who criticize the constitution draft. This is a draft that destroys the principles of law and the rule of law to such a degree that it will be difficult to find a solution and which lacks security for the liberty and freedom of the Thai people. 
 
Piyarat Chongthep
7 August 2016
 
***
 
Today (7 August), Piyarat, or Toto, Chongthep was arrested at the Bang Na district polling station after he tore up his ballot for the referendum on the draft constitution. He stood in front of a ballot box and yelled, “Down with dictatorship! Long live democracy!” as he tore his ballot in half. 
 
Piyarat is head of For Friends Association (FFA), an association that provides assistance to political prisoners and dissidents. 
 
If charged and found guilty, Piyarat could face up to one year in prison and/or a 20,000 baht fine for tearing up his ballot under Article 59 of the Referendum Act. 
 
The following is a translation of the declaration that Piyarat prepared to accompany his action.  

The statement was first written in Thai by Piyarat himself and was translated into English by Tyrell Haberkorn

Piyarat Chongthep at the polling station which he tore down the ticket (source: Khaosod)