Judiciary office looks for arrests

Judiciary office looks for arrests

Activists in hot water over Sunday ruckus at court

City workers are cleaning paint in front of the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Monday, after a protest there on Sunday when protesters splash red paint there. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
City workers are cleaning paint in front of the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Monday, after a protest there on Sunday when protesters splash red paint there. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Office of the Judiciary has called for legal action against members of the Restart Democracy (Redem) group who on Sunday night protested in front of the Criminal Court on Ratchdaphisek Road to call for the release of leading activists detained on lese majeste and other charges.

The protest was organised by the Restart Democracy (Redem) group, an offshoot of the Ratsadon movement. They sprayed paint on the signage outside the court and threw objects into the premises before ending the protest.

The court on Thursday rejected another bail request by detained activists, including the ailing student protest leader Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak.

In a statement on Monday, the office said the court, in deliberating legal cases and issuing orders, gave importance to the rights and liberties of the people regarding the expression of opinions. The courts were also open to opinions from all parties to improve the country's justice system, it said.

However, on the night of May 2, a group of people protesting in front of the Criminal Court building resorted to violence, the statement said. They hurled objects and fired projectiles into the court's premises and used fireworks and explosives in a threatening manner, it added.

The action taken by the protesters not only caused damage to government property but also threatened physical harm to officials providing security for the court's premises, it said.

The statement said the protesters used violence to pressure the court to make decisions or issue orders in their favour, regardless of the principles of the law.

It then called for law enforcement officials to conduct a thorough investigation into Sunday's incident and take legal action against the protesters if there was sufficient evidence of laws being violated.

The court on Monday also denied bail requests filed by protest leaders Roseekeen Niyomdecha and Hathairath Kaewseekram, both 20, after it decided that they might jump bail.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong Pongpetra, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said his officers had detained four Redem protesters involved in the Sunday incident.

He said they gathered at Victory Monument before marching to the court to criticise the court's decision and threw objects at the court before Bangkok police were deployed.

The police used force to control them, Pol Lt Gen Pakapong said.

He said the four suspects had taken part in previous protests and have been charged with violating disease control laws and the Emergency Decree. Police are also reportedly planning to charge the four for damaging government property.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong said his officers are looking to arrest more suspects, noting that protesters should voice their views through "normal channels" to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

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