16 held over Sanam Luang prawn sale

16 held over Sanam Luang prawn sale

Vendors hawk prawns at a makeshift market organised by anti-government protesters at Kok Wua intersection in Bangkok on Thursday. The stalls were initially set up at the nearby Sanam Luang, but moved to the intersection after pressure from authorities. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Vendors hawk prawns at a makeshift market organised by anti-government protesters at Kok Wua intersection in Bangkok on Thursday. The stalls were initially set up at the nearby Sanam Luang, but moved to the intersection after pressure from authorities. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Police on Thursday arrested and charged a group associated with the anti-government Ratsadon protest movement for defying the ban on public gatherings at Sanam Luang in Bangkok.

Led by activist Piyarat "Toto" Jongthep, the We Volunteer (WeVo) group organised a prawn sale at Sanam Luang while urging its supporters to join a New Year countdown event the group was organising.

The group originally planned to celebrate New Year by hosting a prawn barbecue party at Sanam Luang. However, the event was moved to the nearby Kok Wua intersection following the arrest of the group's core members.

Thursday afternoon, the group turned up in six pickup trucks loaded with about five tonnes of prawns purchased from Samut Sakhon farmers.

The Central Shrimp Market in the province was recently closed after it was linked to an outbreak of Covid-19.

According to WeVo, it was helping farmers sell their goods after they were shunned by consumers.

Last week, the group held a similar sale outside Government House.

On Thursday, police ordered the group to vacate Sanam Luang for breaking the emergency decree that prohibits large public gatherings to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Piyarat was later detained along with 15 other activists, said a source. They were charged with colluding to organise a public assembly that imperils public health, defying disease containment orders and colluding to use powerful loud-speakers in public without permission.

The penalty for violating the decree is a prison term of up to two years, a maximum fine of 40,000 baht or both.


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