7 protest leaders charged for staging protest in front of police station

Additional charges have been filed against 7 leading anti-dictatorship protest figures for staging a protest against the arrest of Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer and monarchy reform critic, in front of Bangkhen Police Station on 7 August without informing the police.

The summonses raising 3 fingers at the Bangkhen police station (Source: iLaw).

The 7 were charged with staging a public gathering without informing the police, unauthorized use of sound amplifiers and blocking traffic. All denied the charges and said they would testify later. Lawyers from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) were present to represent them.

10 supporters were seen at the police station as the accused showed up at around 13.00. Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, a student activist who was among those summoned, said the summonses were political prosecution to harass those that oppose the government. 

Parit then burned his summons as an act of defiance toward the Thai judicial system.  The other 6 followed suit.

After hearing the charges, those summoned refused to give the police their fingerprints, claiming that National Police Headquarters regulations do not require the police to take fingerprints on minor charges like those that they faced. The police then additionally charged them with refusing to comply with an official order.

Anon was arrested after he made a landmark speech about monarchy reform at the Harry Potter-themed protest on 3 August. Although the speech was made within the precinct of Chanasongkram Police Station, he was transferred for interrogation at Bangkhen Police Station, about 25 km away. 

Protesters believe that the police wanted to avoid a mass gathering of Anon’s supporters in front of the more easily accessed Chanasongkram Police Station in the heart of the capital.