99 protesters arrested at Government House before cabinet group photo

In the morning and evening of 14 March, protesters at the ‘Through the Sky Village’ set up near Government House were rounded up with no warrants shown. The Prime Minister denied any connection with the group photo of the new cabinet.

Protesters at the Toward the Sky Village raising the 3-finger salute while lying down, awaiting an incoming arrest on 28 March.

In both incidents, protesters in the makeshift village observed by peaceful methods by sitting or lying down, raising the 3-finger salute and letting the police take them into custody.

Those arrested were divided into 2 groups: 61 people who were arrested at 06.00 on Sunday and 31 who re-established the village in the afternoon and were arrested in the evening. Before being taken to court for a temporary detention order hearing, the first group were detained and charged at the Border Patrol Police Region 1, Pathum Thani, and the second at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.

On Monday night, all 92 were released on bail with 20,000 baht each as securities.

99 were arrested in total, but 6 were youths and earlier given bail by the court earlier while one other was allowed bail by the police.

92 were sent to Dusit Court for a temporary detention order hearing on Monday morning. They were charged with violating the Emergency Decree, causing traffic disorder and public dirtiness. Lawyers were waiting to submit bail requests.

On Monday, people gathered at the Pathumwan Skywalk to protest against the arrests. A protest was called for 14.00 on Tuesday 30 March at Government House to coincide with the cabinet photo shoot. The gathering perhaps is a symbolic action of resistance as the real photo shoot has been taken at Tuesday morning.

People gathering at Pathum Wan Skywalk on Monday night.

Wassana Nanuam, a journalist who specializes in reporting military affairs, posted on Facebook that the raids were carried out before the cabinet group photo on Tuesday in front of Government House, which can be seen from the village. The post quotes an official source as saying that they were afraid that the protestors would disturb cabinet members by shouting or throwing objects at them.

On Monday, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha gave an interview to the media denying any connection between the dispersal and the photoshoot. He said he has endured the protests for the past weeks and there have been requests from schools about traffic disorder. If the protests were not ended, others would suffer.

The village, known as Mu Ban Thalu Fa, was set up on 14 March on the side of a canal next to Chamai Maruchet Bridge, opposite Government House, after the end of a 247.5 km march from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok from 16 February to 7 March. Protestors demanded the release of their detained friends, constitutional amendments, the resignation of the PM and the abolition of Section 112 of the Criminal Code - the lèse majesté law.

At the time, the village joined with protesters from Bang Kloi and P-Move who were already there, demanding land rights and justice for minorities. The protest site became better-known from the cultural activities and public panels that took place there.

Rumours about the raids had circulated since 25 March as the Bangkok authorities announced that the protest was illegal. The rumour was debunked when the Bangkok authorities denied it via media interviews. However, the village was still cleared.

According to the Bangkok Post, Pol Maj Gen Chiraphat Bhumichitr, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said after the morning operation that the police had seized half a kilogram of marijuana and 2 litres of kratom leaf juice inside a tent. They also found sex toys and condoms at the protest site.

The Feminist Liberate group later announced that the condoms and sex toys were used as props in a campaign for safe consensual sex and the abolition of Section 287 of the Criminal Code which criminalizes sex toys, in order for everyone to access sexual pleasure safely.

The group also stated that other materials were illegally seized by the police such as a large Pride flag used to address the marital rights of the LGBTQ+ people and banners on other sex issues which are more valuable and useful to society than police crowd control shields and weapons

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