Pattaya police press charges against 7 pro-election protesters

Seven individuals have been prosecuted in Pattaya for joining a pro-election protest in early March. This case brings to 79 the total number of people prosecuted for calling for an election.
On 19 March 2018, Pattaya police accused four individuals of violating the 2015 Public Assembly Act and 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.
The four are Anurak Jentawanit, leader of a red-shirt group called Ford Red Path; a former l?se majest? convict, Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul; and Wirachai and Ari (surnames withheld due to privacy concerns)
The police alleged that the four led the protest on 4 March in front of the CentralFestival Pattaya Beach shopping mall without giving prior notice to the authorities, and delivered speeches attacking the government.
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the police earlier accused three other individuals in Pattaya for joining the campaign and will submit the cases of the seven to the public prosecutor on 28 March. The three others are Wanchaloem Khunsaen, Chindapha Thanahatthachai and Sirawith Seritiwat, an anti-junta activist.
The TLHR also reported that since February, the authorities have filed six lawsuits against 79 people for participating in political activities urging the NCPO to step down and stop postponing the election.
However, on 9 March, the public prosecutor of Pathumwan Municipal Court decided not to indict 28 out of 39 pro-election protesters at MBK shopping mall, arguing that the prosecution would yield no benefit to the public. The case will be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for final judgement. Most of the remaining 11 are prominent pro-democracy activists such as Rangsiman Rome, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, Nuttha Mahattana and Sombat Boonngam-anong.
Around 200 people participated in the pro-election protest on 4 March (Photo from the TLHR)