Chronology of activist Tantawan's actions
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Chronology of activist Tantawan's actions

Youth activist Tantawan Tuatulanon. (File photo)
Youth activist Tantawan Tuatulanon. (File photo)

Youth activist Tantawan Tuatulanon hit the headlines recently after repeatedly honking her car horn at a royal motorcade on Feb 4. She went on to conduct an opinion poll on Feb 10, asking people whether they thought royal motorcades caused traffic problems.

The 22-year-old activist was subsequently charged for causing a public disturbance.

She had previously conducted an opinion poll on Feb 8, 2022, also asking people whether they thought royal motorcades caused traffic problems.

In the recent case Ms Tantawan and a male friend appeared in a video clip shared on social media on Feb 7 honking the car horn at the royal motorcade of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who was travelling on an expressway in Bangkok.

It appeared in the video that the motorcade was not blocking traffic and Ms Tantawan and her friend were trying to cut into the convoy's lane.

When approached by a police officer, the pair aggressively objected.

A few days later on, Ms Tantawan and her activist group ran the opinion poll at the BTS Skytrain's Siam Station in front of Siam Paragon department store, asking people whether royal motorcades could be deemed an inconvenience. Royalist protesters confronted the group and a brawl ensued.

Ms Tantawan is the daughter of Sommai and Kalong Tuatulanont. She told the media she studied marketing at a university in Singapore before returning to Thailand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She became interested in Thai politics after following news about the now-defunct Future Forward Party, since rebranded as the Move Forward Party (MFP), in 2020, before attending her first protest in August of that year.

Ms Tantawan registered as a volunteer protest guard with a WeVo group, led by Piyarat "Toto" Chongthep.

She then joined the Mok Luang Rim Nam group led by Sophon Suraritthamrong and started a movement after the disappearance of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, another political advocate who faced lese majeste charges and took refuge in Cambodia.

She claimed she later enrolled in Ramkhamhaeng University as a law student after quitting the other university in Singapore.

Ms Tantawan has been accused of twice violating the lese majeste law, or Section 112 of the Criminal Code.

The first accusation happened during the sticker poll at the Siam Paragon on Feb 8, 2022. She was later granted bail. The second accusation was for hosting a livestream on her Facebook page when members of the royal family arrived on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on March 5, 2022.

Her bail was suspended later in the year after the court said she had tried to enter the arrival area without permission, and the questionable Facebook post was shared on her account.

Early last year, while in detention at the Central Women's Correctional Institution, she and a fellow lese-majete prisoner staged a hunger strike seeking the release of political prisoners. Ms Tantawan revoked a pending bail application for which former MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat had served as a guarantor.

On the 37th day of the hunger strike the court granted them bail on health grounds but they rejected it as the application had been filed by the hospital without their consent. They eventually ended their hunger strike after 52 days.

Ms Tantawan was arrested on Tuesday on charges of sedition and computer crime related to the Feb 4 motorcade incident.

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