Soldier gives the finger to protesters in Phayao

A hotheaded soldier in Phayao has given the finger to protesters who urged the authorities to end prosecution of villagers accused of violating the junta’s order.
A hot-headed military officer in Phayao has given the finger to protesters urging the authorities to end the prosecution of villagers accused of violating a junta order.
 
On 6 February 2018, representatives of the People Go Network submitted a petition to the Phayao Provincial Governor, urging the authorities to terminate the prosecution of 14 supporters of the civil rights march We Walk. They were accused of violating the Head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/ 2015, the junta’s ban on public gatherings of more than four people. 
 
When the petitioners arrived at the government office, Col Thinachat Sutthirak obstructed them and raised his middle finger, furiously saying that the network distorted the truth as the authorities will not prosecute the 14 for violating the junta’s ban. 
 
Col Thinachat stated that the military was in the process of withdrawing charges against the villagers for breaking the junta order, but they might instead be prosecuted for breaching the Public Assembly Act. However, the soldier told the media that he did not raise his finger but merely waved his hand. 
 
The Royal Thai Army has apologised for Thinachat ’s behaviour and said that it will put him under investigation. 
 
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the villagers were accused on 6 February of violating the Head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/ 2015, the junta’s ban on public gatherings of five people or more. The charges came after the villagers held a minor activity to show solidarity with the We Walk campaign. They walked for only 500 meters and read a statement calling for land reform, community rights and progressive taxation.
 
The 14 include 10 members of the Northern Peasants Federation, Saeng Sopbong, Wanlop Phandi, Prayun Yamongkhon, Nom Karanoi, Nan Chatunam, Choen Daengmani and Bunyuen Saengkaeo, Amphon Somrit, Phon Khankhachi and Kaeo Unpo; and four student activists from Chiang Rai, Somchai Kuwiwatthanasakun, Kanthima Mongkhondi and Worasathit Buadaeng. 
 
The defendants are out on bail of 5,000 baht each
 
 
Col Thinachat gives the finger (Photo from People Go Network)