Conflicts & War

At least 5 new arrests during Thailand’s student protests

Bangkok, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Thai Police have arrested at least five people in the last 24 hours in relation to student demonstrations calling for democratic reforms and reducing the power of the military and the monarchy.

Four people were arrested Wednesday night and another on Thursday on charges of sedition, punishable by up to seven years in prison, and of violating the ban on demonstrations due to the pandemic, among other charges.

One of those arrested, lawyer Arnon Nampa, was arrested for calling for a reform of the monarchy to limit its prerogatives during a protest on Aug. 3 in which he appeared disguised as the fictional wizard Harry Potter.

Arnon was already arrested for the first time at the beginning of this month for participating in the anti-government demonstration on Jul. 18, which marked the beginning of a wave of mobilizations that have since taken place almost daily, especially in universities.

On Sunday, a student organization managed to gather tens of thousands of people in the center of Bangkok, in what has been the largest of the protests so far.

The agents also arrested Dechatorn “Hockey” Bumrungmuang, a member of the Rap Against Dictatorship group, for participating in the protests started in July by university students joined by other civil groups and even high school students.

Rap Against Dictatorship published two years ago a rap against the old military junta and the abuses committed by the military in the recent history of Thailand that went viral on social media.

To date, police have arrested seven activists related to the demonstrations, which call for the dissolution of parliament, a new constitution and an end to the persecution of dissidents.

The protesters also ask that the power of the military – responsible for 13 coups d’état since 1939 – and of the monarchy – protected by a strict lese majesty law, which provides penalties of up to 15 years in prison for those who insult the institution – be reduced.

The protests are also directed at Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 military coup and who was elected head of the government in a 2019 election that has been described as non-transparent. EFE-EPA


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