Army detains, warns and releases student activists

Army detains, warns and releases student activists

The army made a strong show of force over the scandal-hit Rajabhakti Park, closing an up-country train station to arrest three dozen activists who were to vist the park. Here, group leader Sirawith Seritiwat is taken away. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL
The army made a strong show of force over the scandal-hit Rajabhakti Park, closing an up-country train station to arrest three dozen activists who were to vist the park. Here, group leader Sirawith Seritiwat is taken away. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

The student activists detained by the military yesterday while trying to reach Rajabhakti Park have been released with a stern warning from the army chief.

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Army detains anti-coup activists

Theerachai warns over Rajabhakti gatherings

The army chief has issued a stern warning against any politically-motivated gatherings at Rajabhakti Park after a group of anti-coup activists was stopped from visiting the park on Monday and detained.

Authorities accused the members of the student group – which calls itself Prachathipatai Sueksa (Democracy Studies ) – of having a political motivation to stir up unrest.

The members were taken to an army base in Nakhon Pathom, where they were detained. Some were later released after they signed an agreement promising not to engage in such activities again.

A force of soldiers and police intercepted the group Monday at a railway station in Ban Pong district of Ratchaburi province, while they were on the train bound for Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district, which had been unexpectedly closed.

A group of the Prachathipatai Sueksa (Democracy Studies) on the train before they were detained. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

The carriage the 36 activists, including 16 women, were travelling in was disconnected from the rest of the southbound train, and the rest were allowed to continue.

The activists were ordered to disembark and initially detained at Ban Pong train station before being taken by military buses to an army base in Nakhon Pathom's Phutthamonthon district.

An army source said army chief Gen Theerachai Nakvanich had instructed military personnel at the base to dissuade the students from holding any politically-motivated activities again. They also conveyed the message to their parents.

The high-placed source said the military move was "an official warning" and the parents of the students were also warned to monitor their children under the threat of legal action against the families.

At press time, all of the students had been released from military custody. The majority of the students – 30 – had agreed to sign the agreement. Six refused to sign, according to the source.

Sirawith poses for a photo after his release from military detention. (Facebook page of Sirawith Seritiwat)

Army spokesman Winthai Suvaree said the group was comprised of well-known activists who were making the journey with ulterior motives. He said they were stopped to prevent a confrontation with local residents who hold different views to them.

Meanwhile, Col Winthai said authorities were aware that efforts were under way to use the park as a venue for political gain, so they had to step in to maintain order.

Local people gathered at Ban Pong railway station, where the student group was initially detained, and shouted their disapproval of the students' planned activities.

The student group, led by Sirawith Seritiwat, a political science student at Thammasat University who refused to sign the agreement with the military, earlier said the group was going to the park to gather information about the controversy surrounding the construction of giant statues of former kings.

They also planned to read a statement revealing the problems surrounding the park controversy.

Gen Winthai said the group should have sought information on the park's construction through proper channels, rather than holding activities that could stir up unrest.

Another group of student activists, the Prachathipatai Mai (New Democracy), issued a statement that slammed the military for violating freedom of expression by detaining the other students.

The Prachathipatai Mai group vowed to dig up any alleged irregularities in the one-billion-baht park project until "the truth is uncovered", said the statement.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will discuss the issue of the students' detention at a meeting today, according to NHRC chairman What Tingsamitr. The NHRC will discuss whether their human rights were violated before considering any further action, he said.

The army abruptly closed the entrance to Rajabhakti Park Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district, telling visitors it was for road maintenance. CHAIWAT SATYAEM

Following the incident Monday, the army abruptly closed Rajabhakti Park, claiming it was necessary to do maintenance work on its access roads.

The closure of the park on the last day of the long weekend to celebrate Father's Day left many prospective visitors disappointed. Many visitors parked their cars outside the park and attempted to get a glimpse the monuments from outside the park's walls. At the two security checkpoints on Phetkasem Road leading to the park, officers told visitors the park was closed for road repairs but declined to say when it would reopen to the public.

Local media speculated the park was shut down to prevent confrontations between local residents in Hua Hin and the Prachathipatai Sueksa activists.

A group of angry Hua Hin residents had reportedly planned to gather at the park to block the activists as they felt the place was a sacred royal venue and should not be "politicised".

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  • abruptly: suddenly and unexpectedly, and often unpleasant - อย่างกะทันหัน
  • access: the ability to enter a building or place - การเข้าสู่
  • accuse: to say that someone has done something wrong or committed a crime - กล่าวหา
  • activist: someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation - นักกิจกรรม
  • activity (noun): a thing that you do for work, interest or pleasure, or in order to achieve a particular aim - กิจกรรม
  • adj (noun): connected with soldiers or the armed forces - ในทางทหาร,เกี่ยวกับทหาร
  • agreement (noun): an arrangement, a promise or a contract made with somebody - ข้อตกลง, คำสัญญา
  • alleged: claimed to be true although not yet proven; claimed to have done something wrong but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • aware (adj): knowing that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ, รับรู้
  • block: to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else - ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
  • bound for: going to - มุ่งหน้าไป
  • carriage: one of the vehicles that are joined together to make a train - ตู้โดยสาร
  • chairman: the person in charge of a committee, a company, etc - ประธาน
  • channel: a way of communicating with people or getting something done - ช่องทาง
  • checkpoint: a place where people have to stop so their vehicles and documents can be checked - ด่านตรวจ
  • chief: a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ
  • claim: to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - อ้าง
  • closure (noun): the shutting down of a school, factory or other business or service - การปิด
  • commission: an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
  • comprise: to consist or be made up of two or more things - ประกอบด้วย
  • confrontation: a situation in which people or groups are arguing angrily or are fighting - การเผชิญหน้า
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
  • controversy: a disagreement that a lot of people have strong feelings about - ความขัดแย้ง
  • convey: to communicate something; to express a thought, feeling or idea so that it is understood by other people - สื่อไปถึง, สื่อสาร
  • coup: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร
  • custody: the state of being in prison or under police control, especially while waiting for trial - การกักขัง, การคุมขัง
  • decline: to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธ
  • detain: to keep someone in a police station or prison and not allow them to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
  • detention (noun): the condition of being forced officially to stay in a place - การกักตัว
  • disappointed: unhappy because someone or something was not as good as you hoped or expected, or because something did not happen - ผิดหวัง
  • disapproval (noun): a feeling that you do not like an idea, an action or somebody’s behaviour because you think it is bad, not suitable or going to have a bad effect on somebody else - ความไม่เห็นด้วย, ความไม่ชอบ, การไม่ยอมรับ
  • disconnect: to separate something from something - ตัดขาดจากกัน, แยกออกจากกัน, แบ่งออก
  • disembark: to leave a vehicle, especially a ship or an aircraft, at the end of a journey - ออกจากพาหนะ
  • dissuade: to persuade someone not to do something - ชักชวนไม่ให้ทำ,ห้ามปราม
  • engage in: to take part in a particular activity - มีส่วนร่วมใน
  • entrance: a door, gate, passage, etc. used for entering a room, building or place - ทางเข้า
  • expression: things that people say, write or do in order to show their feelings, opinions and ideas - การแสดงความคิด, การแสดงออก
  • force (noun): a group of people who have been trained to protect other people, usually by using weapons - กองกำลัง
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • gain: a benefit, or an advantage - ผลประโยชน์
  • gather (verb): to come/bring together in a group - รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน, จับกลุ่มกัน, ชุมนุม
  • gathering: an occasion when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม
  • giant: very large; much larger or more important than similar things usually are - ยักษ์
  • glimpse (noun): when you see something or someone for a very short time - การเหลือบดู, การชำเลือง, การชายตามอง
  • human rights: the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think - สิทธิมนุษยชน
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • initially: at first - ในเบื้องต้น
  • instruct (verb): to tell somebody to do something, especially in a formal or official way - สั่ง
  • intercept: to stop and catch something or someone before they are able to reach a particular place - สกัด
  • irregularity: a situation in which the rules, laws, or usual ways of doing things have not been followed - การปฏิบัติที่ไม่เป็นไปตามระเบียบปกติ
  • issue: to announce something officially - ออกประกาศ
  • legal: relating to the law - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
  • local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
  • maintain: to keep - รักษา
  • maintenance: work that is done to keep something such as a building, machine, or piece of equipment repaired and in good condition - การซ่อมบำรุง
  • majority: more than half of the people in a group - ส่วนมาก
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
  • monument (noun): a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
  • motivated: done for a particular reason - มีแรงจูงใจ ถูกโน้มน้าวใจ
  • motivation: a reason for doing something - แรงจูงใจ
  • motive: the reason that you do something - แรงจูงใจ
  • official: done by people in authority or decided by the government; announced publicly - เป็นทางการ
  • order: a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged - ความเป็นระเบียบเรียบร้อย
  • personnel: the people who are employed in a company, organization or one of the armed forces - บุคลากร, เจ้าหน้าที่, พนักงาน
  • political science (noun): the study of government and politics - รัฐศาสตร์
  • politicise: to bring something to the attention of the public so that it can be discussed or debated, especially in a political way - ทำให้เป็นประเด็น
  • pose: to stay in a particular position in order to be photographed - วางท่าถ่ายรูป
  • press time (noun): the time of day when a newspaper is printed -
  • proper: right, appropriate or correct; according to the rules - เหมาะสม
  • prospective: expected to do something or to become something - ที่คาดหวังไว้, ที่มุ่งหวัง
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • release: to allow someone to go free - ปล่อยตัว
  • repairs: fixing something that is broken or damaged - การซ่อมบำรุง
  • reportedly: as reported (often used for showing that you are not certain that something you are reporting is true) - ตามที่รายงาน
  • resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • reveal: to show or let something become known - เปิดเผย
  • sacred: considered to be holy - ศักดิ์สิทธิ์
  • security: protection; systems providing for safety from attack, harm, or damage - ระบบรักษาความปลอดภัย
  • slammed: strongly criticised - วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง
  • sought (past tense of seek): tried to get/do something; asked for something - พยายามได้, พยายามได้มา
  • source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว
  • speculate: to consider or discuss what might happen or might have happened - คาดการณ์ อนุมาน
  • statement: something that you say or write that gives information or an opinion - แถลงการณ์, คำแถลง
  • statues: human or animal images that are made of stone, wood, metal, etc. - รูปปั้น
  • stern: serious and severe - กวดขัน, พิถีพิถัน, เข้มงวด
  • stir up: to make someone feel upset or angry - ก่อให้เกิดความขุ่นใจ
  • surrounding: to be closely connected with a situation or an event - เชื่อมต่อกัน เกี่ยวข้องกับ
  • the military (noun): soldiers; the armed forces - ทหาร, กองกำลัง, กองทัพ
  • threat: saying that you might do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something - การขู่เข็ญ การคุกคาม ทำให้กลัว
  • truth: what is actually the situation; not lies or misrepresentations - ความจริง
  • ulterior: that somebody keeps hidden and does not admit - ซึ่งลี้ลับ, ซึ่งซ่อนเร้น, ซึ่งแอบแฝง
  • under way (adj): happening now, currently happening - กำลังดำเนินต่อไป
  • unrest: angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something - สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ
  • venue: the place where an activity or event happens - สถานที่
  • violate: to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
  • vow: to make a formal and serious promise to do something or to promise what you say is true - สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
  • warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน
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