Court denies application to keep protesters in detention

Court denies application to keep protesters in detention

An anti-Thai government protester wields a traffic cone at riot police during a clash at a rally for Myanmar's democracy outside the Myanmar embassy, in Bangkok on Monday. (Reuters photo)
An anti-Thai government protester wields a traffic cone at riot police during a clash at a rally for Myanmar's democracy outside the Myanmar embassy, in Bangkok on Monday. (Reuters photo)

Police on Tuesday failed to secure the court's permission to further detain two Thai protesters arrested on Monday during clashes with riot police at a rally against the military coup in Myanmar.

The rally took place in front of the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok.

The court questioned the two protesters via video conference and decided to release them both despite police requests to detain them for longer. They were identified as Pannaphat Chantharangkun, 19, and Kiattisak Phanrenu, 20.

Both were detained at Yannawa police station. Police are only allowed to detain suspects in police station cells for a maximum of 48 hours without a court order but in this case investigators said they wanted a detention order valid until Feb 13 so they could question the pair further.

The two were arrested during Monday's violence in which 14 police officers were injured.

The two were accused of throwing smoke grenades and other missiles at police officers, according to Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

He said both were charged with violating the emergency decree, the Disease Control Act, illegal assembly and provoking unrest.

Another suspect, Witchapat Sikasiphan, 21, was arrested for using loudspeakers in public without permission, said Pol Maj Gen Piya.

Police have evidence to prove that the first two suspects used weapons and threw objects at crowd control officers, said Pol Maj Gen Piya.

Police are also compiling evidence to seek an arrest warrant for Piyarat "Toto" Chongthep, the leader of the political group We Volunteer (WeVo) that was accused of engineering Monday's violent protest, said Pol Maj Gen Piya.

A number of bus stops, facilities in public parks and walls were damaged by the protesters and police were gathering more evidence to back more charges against these and other suspects, he said.

In a written request by the police for the court's permission to further detain the arrested suspects, the police said a group of between 50 and 60 protesters gathered outside the Myanmar embassy in protest against the military coup on Monday.

Officers were sent to disperse them, but were met by bricks, rocks, and smoke bombs, the police said.

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