Protest leaders arrested again, this time for Thammasat U. demonstration

Student activist Panupong “Mike” Jadnok was arrested for the second time yesterday (25 August), for participating in the demonstration at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus on 10 August. Human rights lawyer Anon Nampa was also arrested earlier today (26 August) on the same charge.

Panupong Jadnok on stage at the 10 August demonstration

Panupong was arrested in the afternoon during a protest against a land reclamation project at the Roi Sao Market in Rayong, near where prime minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha was due to meet the people during his visit to the province. The arrest warrant was issued by the Pathum Thani Provincial Court and accused Panupong of sedition and of violating the Computer Crime Act, the Sound Amplifier Act, the Communicable Disease Act, and regulations on assembly under the Emergency Decree.

He was then taken to Khlong Luang Police Station, Pathum Thani, where he was detained overnight. He and his lawyer applied for bail using Move Forward Party MP Bencha Saengchatra’s position as security, but the inquiry officer denied the bail request. 

A crowd of around 100 people gathered at Khlong Luang Police Station to show support, including student protest leaders Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and Parit Chiwarak. At around 21.50, the crowd tried to push past metal fences that the police had erected to get inside the station and police officers pushed back. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Panusaya was injured during this incident, and iLaw reported that other protesters also receive minor injuries and damage to their belongings.

Panupong was taken to Thanyaburi Provincial Court at 14.25 today (25 August) for a temporary detention request, along with human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, who was arrested for the third time this morning on the same charges.

Anon Nampa on stage at the 10 August demonstration

Anon was arrested at Nang Loeng Police Station, where he went to acknowledge the charges he received following the demonstration in front of army headquarters on 20 July along with Parit Chiwarak, Suwanna Tanlek, and Piyarat Chongthep. He was then taken to Khlong Luang Police Station before being taken to court.

TLHR reported that there were around 10 uniformed and plainclothes police officers in front of Thanyaburi Provincial Court and around 60 uniformed officers inside the court area. The Court only allowed Anon and Panupong’s lawyer, 5 members of the public, and 5 reporters inside the court area.

iLaw said that police officers standing guard in front of the Court are requiring all communication devices to be left at the door before entering the court premises, and that the court put up a banner of a court order prohibiting the use of sound amplifiers and all recording or broadcasting equipment, as well as taking pictures, videos, or live broadcasting any event in the court grounds. The order also stated that any violation would constitute contempt of court. 

At 17.00, TLHR said that the Court has ruled to detain both Anon and Panupong and that they are both seeking bail. At 17.35, both Panupong and Anon were granted bail without security.

Panupong and Anon were arrested previously on 7 August, for their participation in the mass protest on 18 July. They were released on bail the next day. Anon was arrested again on 19 August and accused of sedition and of violating the Public Assembly Act, the Sound Amplifier Act, and the Computer Crimes Act due to his participation in the protest on 3 August, making today the third time Anon has been arrested for participating in an anti-government protest, many of which demanded an end to the authorities' harassment of citizens. 

Eight other activists were also arrested during the night of 19 August and the morning of 20 August, including Baramee Chairat, Suwanna Tanlek, Korakot Saengyenpan, Dechathorn “Hockhacker” Bamrungmuang, Thanayut Na Ayuthaya, Thotsaphon Sinsombun, Tanee Sasom, and Nattawut Somboonsap, all of whom took part in the 18 July mass protest. They were released on bail the next day.