Thanathorn's group for trial over flash rally

Thanathorn's group for trial over flash rally

From left, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, Pita Limjaroenrat, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Pannika Wanich and Pairattachote Chantarakajon, at the Office of Summary Litigation Region 6 in Pathumwan district, Bangkok, to hear the indictment decision on Thursday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
From left, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, Pita Limjaroenrat, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Pannika Wanich and Pairattachote Chantarakajon, at the Office of Summary Litigation Region 6 in Pathumwan district, Bangkok, to hear the indictment decision on Thursday. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Pathumwan Municipal Court on Thursday accepted for trial the prosecutors' indictment of Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and four others from his Progressive Movement Group and the Move Forward Party on charges relating to a flash protest rally in Pathumwan district in December last year.

Those for trial are: Mr Thanathorn, head of the Progressive Movement Group; Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, secretary-general of the group; Pannika Wanich, the group's spokeswoman; Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat; and Pairattachote Chantarakajon, former election candidate of Mr Thanathorn's disbanded Future Forward party.

They were all present at the court. The indictment concerns their rally on the elevated BTS walkway at Pathumwan intersection on Dec 14, 2019.

Prosecutors charged them with organising the rally without giving prior notice, organising a rally that affected train services, organising a rally that blocked people from using a public place, using loudspeakers without permission, rallying within a 150-metre radius of a palace, and resisting officials' orders to stop the rally.

The five denied all charges and were temporarily released. The court scheduled the examination of evidence and witness lists for Dec 22.

Mr Thanathorn said the arrest of rally leaders would not stop the protests.

The Dec 14, 2019 demonstration was the biggest since the 2014 coup. It followed the Election Commission's decision to seek a court order to disband the Future Forward party for accepting cash from an illegitimate source - a large loan from Mr Thanathorn.  

The court subesquently dissolved the party and banned Mr Thanathorn and other members of the executive from holding political office.

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