Three detained in Bangkok protest

Three detained in Bangkok protest

A demonstrator casts a ballot in a mock poll as part of a demonstration to demand the restoration of democracy at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on Feb 14, 2015. (Photo by Patipat Junthong)
A demonstrator casts a ballot in a mock poll as part of a demonstration to demand the restoration of democracy at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on Feb 14, 2015. (Photo by Patipat Junthong)

Three people were detained for attitude adjustment after a foiled anti-coup protest dubbed "The Stolen Election" in the heart of Bangkok's shopping district on Saturday afternoon.

The word "stolen" in the event's name rhymes with the word "love" in Thai. The demonstrators had made no secret of their Valentine's Day plan, promoting it on Facebook.

Acting pre-emptively, 100 troops barricaded the courtyard in front of the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on Rama I Road at 3.36pm. They erected "under construction" barriers, and more plainclothes security officers manned the skytrain station and skywalk above.

The activists nonetheless managed to gather on the streets and pedestrian walkways in defiance of martial law prohibitions, watched by police officers.

About three dozen anti-coup protesters gather outside the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on Rama I Road on Saturday afternoon before security forces broke up their event. (AFP Photo)

Festooning the walkways and streets with roses, some erected cardboard ballot boxes and put up mock voting tables.

"I am here to protest against the coup," office worker Pat Lertkeerstikul told AFP.

"It's almost a year since they stole the last election. We want our democracy back."

Other protesters handed out copies of George Orwell's novel 1984 and flashed the three-finger salute from The Hunger Games, a gesture that has become a symbol of anti-coup activism.

When lawyer Anon Nampa arrived to take part, he said that officials Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which owns the centre, did not allow him to use the space.

Mr Anon said he intended to display some mock ballot boxes to send a message that his group wanted an election, but BMA officials said the group was obstructing the pavement.

The officials eventually used force to wrestle away the props from some demonstrators.

Students gathered at the site milled about briefly, sang some songs and then gave up on their effort.

Siravich Sereewat and others said to be affiliated with red-shirt activists were taken to the Pathumwan police station, accompanied by Mr Anon.

Mr Siravich was charged with using an amplifier in public without permission. Mr Anon, as well as Wannakiat Chusuwan and Pansak Srithep, whose son was shot dead during the 2010 red shirt crackdown, were taken in for what authorities have come to term "attitude adjustment".


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