Mass protests, hunger strikes in solidarity with political prisoners

Ignoring the long Songkran holidays and a new surge of Covid-19 infections, people have started to demonstrate their sympathy with the pro-democracy protesters who are in detention without being proved guilty by joining the detainees in fasting and by protesting in front of the Supreme Court.

#ยืนหยุดขัง112นาที #ยืนหยุดขังday23 เริ่มแล้ว วันนี้เป็นอีกวันที่คนร่วมกิจกรรมเยอะ มาร่วมเรียกร้อง #ปล่อยเพื่อนเรา #พลเมืองโต้กลับ #Octdem

Posted by พลเมืองโต้กลับ Resistant Citizen on Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Photos of the 23 day of 'Just Standing' protest from the Resistant Citizens group Facebook page.

The subtle 112 minute per day ‘Just Standing’ protests held by the Resistant Citizen group since 22 March have swelled in numbers due to the wave of public sympathy. On its 23nd day (15 April), 450 people attended the symbolic stand against the courts’ decisions to detain defendants.

Among those standing in protest can be seen academics, lawyers and the mothers of detainees, holding banners calling for the right to be temporarily released under the law.

The mother of Panupong Jadnok, one of the leading protest figures, told Matichon that the prolonged and strict judicial process and the rejection of bail have made her son guilty without a court ruling. The repeated travel to numerous proceedings have exhausted her.

Malai Nampa, mother of Anon Nampa, another leading figure, said the last time she met Anon was on 9 April when he walked past her but was not allowed to speak. She did not think that her son would do something this big. But as things work out, she hoped that Anon would be released soon. As a mother, her duty was to stand there to support her son.

On the same day, people gathered in front of Chiang Rai Provincial Court to stage a similar activity. According to the Chiang Rai No Dictatorship Facebook page, they vowed to continue.

However, the protest in Bangkok will be suspended on 15 April after Resistant Citizen posted that a Chanasongkram Police Station representative had asked them not to protest as a royal procession was scheduled to take the King to the annual Songkran ceremony at the Royal Palace. The protest will resume on 16 April.

The court decision to detain pro-democracy protesters on remand involves mostly those charged under Sections 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code, for royal defamation and sedition respectively. At least 9 leading protesters and 2 others are being detained.

Mongkhon ‘Bas’ Thirakot, 27, travelled from Chiang Rai to Bangkok to attend the Just Standing protest and since 12 April has been on a hunger strike to show solidarity with Parit Chiwarak, Panusaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Phromson Wirathammachari, 3 detainees who have been staging hunger strikes in prison, allowing themselves only milk and sweetened drinks.

Mongkol Thirakot. Photo taken on 12 April.

On 14 April, after being monitored by the police and the court, he was arrested on a warrant from Phan District Police Station, Chiang Rai province, for violating the royal defamation law. He was taken to Phaholyothin Police Station.

Wave of hunger strikes

Public opinion about the detainees’ hunger strikes is split, with some concerned about their wellbeing and others accepting the struggle. However, some of those outside have already joined the fray with their own hunger strikes, using the hashtag #อดพร้อมเพื่อน (Fast with friends on Facebook, and Twitter). The Nisit Chula Party activist group has invited people to join a hunger strike once a week and write a message about the detainees who also on hunger strike.

 

 

A tweet stated “Yesterday I fasted for a day. Someone with an empty stomach will vomit, more tired from being about to vomit than from wanting food. I was shaking. I respect the brothers and sisters’ struggles. It is really hard. I’m really very moved. There is no more justice in this country, is here? The judicial process is so blind, it is crazy. They have no shame.”

Sa-ard, a cartoonist, also posted on his Facebook page that he had participated in the hunger strike campaign to remind himself of those who are on hunger strike in prison “with hunger, guilt, respect, and the wish to join the call for justice for them, and surely, the wish to see them regain their freedom.”

 

ประมาณสิบปีก่อน ผมเคยมีความคิดบ้าๆ อย่างการพยายามอดอาหารทั้งวันหลายครั้ง เพราะคิดว่าถ้าจะโตไปเป็นนักเขียนการ์ตูน...

Posted by Sa-ard สะอาด on Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Methawi Sitthijirawattanakul, Panusaya’s sister, has also joined the hunger strike for 12 days so far. According to The Reporters, Methawi gradually reduced her diet to the point where she took only milk, sweetened drinks, water and fruits. She said she did it to know how her sister is feeling right now. She intends to resume her regular diet at the same time as Panusaya.

Source: 
prachatai.com/journal/2021/04/92556

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