Rally leaders face charges

Two police complaints have been filed against student protest leaders -- which include an accusation of lese majeste -- after the weekend protest at Sanam Luang.

The assistant commissioner of the national police force, Pol Lt Gen Piya Utayo, said one complaint accused the protest leaders of lese majeste. The other is centred around the installation of a pro-democracy plaque at Sanam Luang, or Royal Ground, and the renaming of it as Sanam Ratsadon, or People's Ground.

Tul Sittisomwong, the leader of the so-called "multi-coloured shirts movement" who filed the lese majeste complaint, said the protest leaders had once again crossed the line.

"I don't mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy," he said.

Pol Lt Gen Piya said several protesters have already been charged.

According to the police, around 10 protesters will be charged with violating the Public Assembly Act, as well as several sections of the Criminal Code, while up to four protest leaders will be charged with lese majeste.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Fine Arts Department also filed complaints against the rally leaders at Chana Songkhram police station for breaking into Thammasat University grounds and Sanam Luang.

Meanwhile, one of the protest leaders, Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak downplayed the removal of the plaque, saying the movement will simply recast and distribute similar plaques to be planted at public places across the city.

The plaque was confiscated and sent to forensic investigators.

The protesters also announced a plan to hold another rally on Thursday at the parliament building.

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Writer: Gary Boyle
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