The Progressive Movement team that projected laser images and messages about past political violence on public buildings around Bangkok has been summoned for questioning after a Ministry of Defence complaint. A leading figure in the Movement fears legal harassment.
Left to right: A police summoning warrant and the laser projection upon the Ministry of Defence.
On 2 July, Pannika Wanich, a leading figure in the Progressive Movement, said that members of the team involved in the laser projection campaign “May 35l53 The Truth Must Revealed” in Bangkok in May 2020 have been summoned by the police as witnesses.
The summonses concern a criminal case filed by Lt Col Anantaphon Nutsathian on behalf of the Ministry of Defence against “A group of individuals who use a laser to project images and messages in many spots in Bangkok”
Those who received a summons include the driver, an independent photographer, and companies that loaned the power generator and laser projector. According to the warrant, they will be interrogated on June 25 by the Deputy Commander of the Metropolitan Police, Pol Maj Gen Somprasong Yentuam.
Pannika, via the Movement media team, said the driver and rental companies were subject to searches by plainclothes and uniformed police officers without being notified of any charge. The summonses arrived on 23 June, one day before nationwide commemorations of the 1932 Siamese democratic revolution.
Pannika suspected that this may be a threat from the police and the Ministry to deter people from carrying out similar activities. There are many cases where people who are summoned as a witness later face charges. Witness interrogation can be to the disadvantage of those summoned as lawyers are unable to attend.
The campaign was to remember the military crackdown against the protests in May 1992 and 2010 . The messages were projected at Wat Pathum Wanaram, Soi Rangnam, the Ministry of Defence, and the Democracy Monument, locations involved in the crackdown.
The projections appeared only a week before the 10th anniversary of the May 2020 crackdown on Red Shirt protestors on 19 May. During the crackdowns in April and May 2010, 94 people were killed and around 2000 were injured. More than half of those who died were killed between 13 and 19 May.
A projected message #ตามหาความจริง (#SeekingTruth) trended on twitter after the campaign was publicized.
On 12 May, Defence spokesperson Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said that the campaign was “politically motivated” and sought to create disunity in the country. He said that he “personally believes it is inappropriate” and that it is “not beneficial to the current situation.”
The Metropolitan Police Bureau is also investigating the campaign. However, Pol Maj Gen Methee Rakpan, Commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Division 6, said that he could not tell whether the campaign had broken any law.