21 face lese majeste rap after rally
Ratchaprasong demo spurs police action
Police are close to taking legal action against 11 rally speakers and 10 other protesters at Wednesday's demonstration at Ratchaprasong Intersection for allegedly violating the lese majeste law at what has been deemed an illegal gathering.
A Metropolitan Police Bureau team was transcribing their speeches for use as evidence to support charges against the 11 speakers, possibly including lese majeste, said Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).
The police will next decide on a case-by-case basis as to who will face what charges, he said, adding that the other 10 unidentified suspects, were attendees holding placards containing messages offensive to the monarchy.
Police investigators have learned that one of the suspects in a lese majeste case linked with the previous rally outside the German embassy had already fled to neighbouring Malaysia, said Pol Maj Gen Piya.
Pol Col Chakkrit Chosungnoen, chief of Lumpini police station, meanwhile, said investigators were gathering evidence to support summonses that would soon be issued against the rally speakers including Patsaravalee "Mind" Tanakitvibulpon, Benja Apan and Attapon Buapat for violating the emergency decree.
Police also announced the arrest of a stateless male under the name of Sam Sa Mart at a building in Don Muang district of Bangkok early yesterday morning. The suspect had been wanted for his behaviour at an anti-government protest in front of military premises on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road on Feb 28 where he was caught on CCTV climbing onto a container and urinating on police officers.
Charges are set to follow.
In another development, a group of human rights advocates, led by Angkhana Neelapaijit, a former member of the National Human Rights Commission, and Chonthicha Chaengrew, a political activist and supporter of the Ratsadon group, yesterday petitioned the Central Administrative Court over the Royal Thai Police's handling of the demonstration outside the parliament complex on Nov 17 last year.
Accompanied by a number of people affected by the incident, the group called for an end to what they described as the police's unreasonable use of force against protesters in the Ratsadon group and other groups.
They also demanded financial compensation for the consequences of the police's alleged violation of the freedom of the protesters.
Ammarin Saichan, a lawyer representing the group, said the petition was part of the group's efforts to have the police's crowd control authority checked and set a better balance between the police's authority to deal with protests and the need to protect the freedom of protesters, which is enshrined in the current charter.
The group also petitioned the court to order the police to stop using force unnecessarily against protesters and to strictly follow the 2015 Act on Public Gatherings, he said.