Police raid live painting event, order erasure

On Thursday night (18 November), police from Thonglor Police Station raided a live painting event organized by the Cross-cultural Foundation (CrCF) at WTF Gallery & Cafe and ordered them to erase the painting claiming that it is “insulting.”

Artist Tawan Wattuya painted portraits of detained protesters on the wall

CrCF director Pornpen Khongkachonkiet said that the event took place between 18.00 – 19.00. After the event ended, two police officers came to the venue to inform them of a noise complaint, but she told them that the sound they used was not loud and that they were already about to leave.

Around 20 plainclothes and uniformed officers from Thonglor Police Station then arrived and blocked the entrance to the alleyway. Pornpen said their behaviour was intimidating and prevented participants from taking their motorcycles out of the alleyway. An officer then came to tell them to erase the painting on the wall and asked her to go talk to him about the event.

Pornpen said that the police did not tell them why the painting needed to be erased and did not charge them. She said that the wall belongs to a privately-owned building that is often used for art events, and that they will have to wait and see whether they will be charged, but she believes that the police see even art as sensitive.

A Facebook live broadcast by one of the participants who confronted the police showed the officers arriving at the venue and ordering those who still remained in the area to erase the messages written around the painting, claiming that they are “insulting.”

The event was part of CrCF’s Safe in Custody Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness about torture and inhuman treatment of detainees. During the event, artist Tawan Wattuya painted a portrait of young protesters arrested at a protest at the Din Daeng intersection while speaking about detainees’ experience. He also let other participants write messages around the painting.

The messages included “Fuck The King Kong” “Fuck The PoPo” “No God No K!-" "Only Humans” and “Royally Bestowed Bullet."

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