16 protest leaders on fresh charges over Khon Kaen rallies

16 protest leaders on fresh charges over Khon Kaen rallies

Vachiravich Thetsrimuang burns his summons before entering the Muang district police station in Khon Kaen on Monday on charges arising from protests in Khon Kaen on Feb 12, Feb 20 and March 1. (Photo: Chakkrpan Natanri)
Vachiravich Thetsrimuang burns his summons before entering the Muang district police station in Khon Kaen on Monday on charges arising from protests in Khon Kaen on Feb 12, Feb 20 and March 1. (Photo: Chakkrpan Natanri)

KHON KAEN: Sixteen core members of the Khon Kaen faction of the anti-government Ratsadon group reported to police on Monday morning to hear charges in connection with three anti-government rallies.

The first rally was held at Khon Kaen University on Feb 12, when the protesters lowered a national flag from the pole. The second was in front of the Muang police station on Feb 20 and the third on March 1 in front of a police office at Khon Kaen University.

At the rallies, the protesters reiterated three demands of the Ratsadon group - the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the amendment of the constitution and the reform of the monarchy.

Summonses were issued for the 16 to report to Muang police on Monday to hear three charges - lowering the national flag, a violation of the Thai National Flag Act, violating the emergency decree, and breaking the Disease Control Act.

The 16 were: Vachiravich "Safe" Thetsrimuang, who is leader of Khon Kaen faction of the Ratsadon group, Atthapol "Khru Yai" Buapat, Chaithawat Nammaroeng, Nitikorn Khamchu, Kornchanok Saenprasert, Pachara Santhiyakul, Thanasak Potemi, Veerapat Sirisunthorn, Panupong Srithananuwat, Sarawut Nakmanee, Jatuporn Sae Ueng, Chettha Klindee, Siwakorn Namnuad, Jetsarit Namkhot, Issaret Charoenkhong and Wisalya Ngnamna.

Four companies of police, from Khon Kaen and nearby provinces, were deployed in front of the police station to block supporters of the 16 from entering the premises.

A large number of Ratsadon supporters turned up and set up a tent on Klang Muang road in front of the station, giving moral support to their leaders and applying pressure on the police.

The protest leaders were accompanied by counsel from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

Mr Vachiravich said the lawyers had prepared to file requests for their release on bail after they were formally charged.

Before reporting to the police, Mr Vachiravich burned his summons and ground the ashes  under his foot, in a symbolic show of defiance.


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