Police search activist’s house at Khon Kaen, seize banners about coup and monarchy

Caption: “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa and his friends raised three fingers to protest as police entered their house to seize banners with statements relating to the coup and reform of the monarchy. 

Police officers have searched the house where activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa and his friends are staying and seized 17 banners to be used on 19 Sep.

Jatupat livestreamed the search on his Facebook page on 17 September 2020. The police refused to let the activist group take a photo of the search warrant. They seized 17 banners with statements relating to the coup and reform of the monarchy that were to be brought to the protest on 19 Sep. 

The police with a search warrant explained that the activists had not been charged but the police needed to find the evidence for an investigation. The police also told them that charges might be pressed later. 

On 16 September 2020, Prachatai was informed by Local Democracy, a student activist group from northeastern Thailand, of which Jatupat is a member, that a red car without license plates was parked, with the engine running, in front of their rented house. 2 men, one with short hair and one with long hair, were sitting in a restaurant next to the house. 

Jatupat believes that this harassment is due to their previous political action in front of Khon Kaen Mueang Police Station on 10 Sep. However, the banners seized were not related to that case, which means that no offence relating to the banners has yet been committed. 

Jatupat is a student activist who was jailed for 870 days on a lèse majesté charge after he shared a BBC Thai biography of King Rama X. During his time in prison, his parents accepted the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, South Korea’s most prestigious human rights award, on his behalf and after his release, he has continued his activities with the Free People movement. 

Human Rights Watch reports serious concerns about the harassment of student activists and has called for the Thai authorities to stop arresting activists for their peaceful protests and to unconditionally drop all charges such as sedition. 

Apart from leading protest figures, students who participated in protests this year face harassment in their schools, which claim that their activities affect the school’s reputation and disappoint their parents. Four university students and a high school student were also summoned by the police for alleged violations of the Emergency Decree and the Public Assembly Act.

Not long after the 18 July protest, the existence of a police list of 31 targeted people was revealed, including leading figures of the student movement, such as Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Tattep “Ford” Ruangprapaikijseree. 30 people in the list have so far been charged.

The case causing most concern is the arrest of lawyer Anon Nampa and student activist Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, who were detained for 5 days over a holiday weekend after they gave speeches on reform of the monarchy. However, they will continue their fight until they reach their dream, according to Anon and Panupong. 

 

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