Protester faces charges for stripping in front of police

A protester has been charged with violation of the Emergency Decree and public nudity, after she completely stripped in front of a line of crowd control police at a protest on 28 September 2021 to protest the use of violence to disperse of the protest.

Worawan Sae-aung

Worawan Sae-aung, or “Aunty Pao,” an elderly fruit vendor who regularly attends protests and is known for her sharp tongue, reported to Nang Loeng Police Station yesterday (18 October). According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the Metropolitan Police gave a press conference following the 28 September protest saying that they will be pressing charges against Worawan. The inquiry officer at Nang Loeng Police Station also said that they have already issued 2 summonses and are preparing to issue a 3rd summons before requesting an arrest warrant, but Worawan said she has never received any summons, so her lawyer contacted the police to set up a meeting.

Worawan is being charged with violation of the Emergency Decree and committing a shameful act by indecently exposing her person under Section 388 of the Thai Criminal Code. The charges result from a protest on 28 September 2021 at the Nang Loeng intersection demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, during which Worawan took off her clothes, laid down on the ground, and opened her legs in front of a line of crowd control police in protest at their use of violence to disperse of the protesters.

Under Section 388 of the Thai Criminal Code, “doing any shameful act in public by indecently exposing one's person, or by committing other indecent acts” is punishable with a fine of up to 5000 baht.

Worawan denied all charges. She told reporters that her action represents the fight of people who have nothing but their bodies to fight against the crowd control police trying to disperse of their protest.

According to TLHR, Worawan is currently facing 12 charges for joining protests during the past year, most of which concern violations of the Emergency Decree. She was previously arrested during a protest on 11 August 2021.

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