9 protesters charged with breaching the Emergency Decree and lèse majesté

As Covid-19 infections spread in pubs and bars, 9 people who gave speeches at the 24 March protest at Ratchaprasong intersection have been charged with violating the Emergency Decree.

9 Protesters reporting themselve at Lumpini Police Station on 8 April.

Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, one of the leading pro-democracy protest figures who gave a speech addressing monarchy reform on that day was also charged with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the royal defamation law.

Pro-democracy protesters return to Ratchaprasong

10 people were summoned to Lumpini Police Station on 8 April to hear the charges: Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, Chatchai Kaedam, Yingcheep Atchanont, Chinnawat Chankrachang, Thanaporn Wichan, Benja Apan, Chumaporn Taengkliang, Khanaphot (surname withheld by request), Atthapol Buapat and Natthida Meewangpla.

The investigator stated that the 10 were engaged in an activity that caused a crowd to gather, posing a threat of Covid-19 infection, which constitutes a violation of the Emergency Decree. All suspects denied the charges and will submit documentary evidence on 23 April. They were released without bail.

Atthapol did not report to the police station with the others as he had to attend court for his trial regarding his involvement in the 19-20 September 2020 protest at Thammasat University and Sanam Luang.

Patsaravalee said she understood that the authorities would use every measure to undermine protests, which may not succeed because the people have heard the reason why they [the protestors who gave speeches] came out. The speakers insisted that what they said was correct.

Patsaravalee said that the ongoing enforcement of the Emergency Decree and Communicable Diseases Law is not meant to solve the Covid-19 problem but to suppress people who think differently. The new surge of infections is also not from the common people.

The new wave of infections appears to stem largely from pubs and bars in the Thong Lo area of Bangkok. Saksayam Chidchob, Bhumjai Thai Party Secretary-General and the Minister of Transport, Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Public Relations Department Director General and 2 high-ranking soldiers reportedly tested positive.

Current infections are spreading among celebrities and the political and military elite. Some are suspected of enjoying the nightlife at bars in Thong Lo without announcing to the public after they tested positive, or meeting those who have been there. Saksayam denied that he went to a bar in Thong Lor and provided a timeline for his whereabouts from 24-31 March.

Since the surge of pro-democracy protests in July 2020, no cases of Covid-19 infection from the protest sites has been reported.

Source: 
prachatai.com/journal/2021/04/92478

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