Activists march through Khon Kaen, report to police

Activists march through Khon Kaen, report to police

'Penguin' sets fire to summons

Activist Parit
Activist Parit "Penguin", centre, lighter in hand, sets fire to the summons for him to report to Khon Kaen police for his role in an anti-government rally in Khon Kaen province on July 23, outside the police station on Thursday. (Photo: Chakkrapan Nathanri)

KHON KAEN: Six activists reported to Khon Kaen police on Thursday morning to hear charges arising from an anti-government rally in Muang district in July.

One of them, Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak, set fire to his summons outside the police station, before they entered the building.

Mr Parit, leader of the Student Union of Thailand (SUT), said his action was in protest against acts of harassment, injustice and use of the emergency decree to restrict the liberties and freedom of the people.

He and the other activists - Jatupat “Pai Dao Din’’ Boonpattaraksa, Ms Piyada Mathian, Thanaphon Dermthamram, Wachirawit Thetsrimuang and Patiwat Saraiyaem - reported to  Muang police around 10.30am.

Police had summonsed them to answer charges of colluding in organising an activity or assembly that provoked unrest and increased the risk of spreading a contagious disease, in defiance of the orders of disease control officials.

They took part in an anti-government rally opposite the Khon Kaen provincial hall on July 23, calling for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign and dissolve the parliament, the writing of a new constitution, and an end to the government's intimidation of its critics. (continues below)

The six summonsed activists flash a three-finger salute in front of Muang police station, Khon Kaen, before they go inside to acknowledge charges on Thursday. (Photo: Chakkrapan Nathanri)

The six activists first led a march by demonstators to the police station from the monument to Field Marshall Sarit Thanarat in Ratchadanusorn public park on Pracha Samosorn Road in Muang municipal area. Sarit led a coup in 1957 and remained in power until his death in 1963.

The marchers stopped at Khon Kaen Wittayayon public school, where speakers encouraged students to flash a three-finger salute against dictatorship.

The demonstrators then moved along Klang Muang Road to enter Srichan Road, heading to the provincial democracy monument. The activists took turns making speeches urging students and other people to join them in the rally.

Mr Parit said he had often taken part in rallies in this northeastern province, and never thought that police would issue him a summons to hear charges.

So far, he had been issued with summonses in 18 cases, the Thammasat University student said.  He said he was not worried by the mounting number of police cases.

The more cases he had against him, the more it devalued the justice system, he said.

“Being a warrior, it is normal to have wounds. However, I still stand firm in calling for  democracy,’’ Mr Parit said.

Mr Parit said he would go to every police station that issues him a summons, and would make a rally speech outside each one.

He also said that Ms Piyada was not at the Khon Kaen rally on July 23, and was wrongly issued a summons. She was at her home in Chaiyaphum that day, he said.

The six activists flashed three-finger salutes, and then went inside the police station to hear the charges against them. 

Demonstrators march along to Muang police station in Khon Kaen. (Photo: Chakkrapan Nathanri)

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