39 individuals summoned for demanding elections

Bangkok police have summoned 39 participants in last weekend’s political campaign, which urged the junta to step down. They are accused of joining a public assembly held too close to a royal palace.
 
On 31 January 2018, Deputy Police Chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul revealed that police had summoned 39 individuals who joined the protest on Saturday at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, Siam Square, which is near Sra Pathum Palace, the residence of Princess Sirindhorn. 
 
The police accused them of joining a public assembly within 150 meters of a royal site, a violation of Article 7 of the 2015 Public Assembly Act. The 39 will have to report to Pathumwan Police Station on 2 February to hear the accusation against them. 
 
Apart from high-profile pro-democracy activists, such as Rangsiman Rome, Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Anon Nampa, the police also summoned low-profile participants who merely observed the event. For example, Aomtip Kerdplanant, a 21-year-old student from Chulalongkorn University, also faces the charge. 
 
Aomtip told Prachatai that she was not involved in organising the event, and did not speak to the speakers during the rally. 
 
“I joined [the event], but on that day I did nothing at all. I just caught up with friends who went there too. Just observing and standing round chatting with friends. That was all,” Aomtip stated, adding that the prosecution reflects that the junta’s legitimacy is in decline.
 
Previously, the junta filed charges against seven well-known pro-democracy activists who joined the event. Col Burin Thongprapai, who acted on behalf of the junta, alleged that the seven led the protest and committed sedition. The seven are among those summoned today.
 
 
Pro-democracy activist Rangsiman Rome gives a speech during the protest