Reformist Student Briefly Detained By Police

(25 October) A prominent student activist who campaigns for a more progressive education system was briefly detained by the police earlier today.

Mr. Netiwit ?Frank? Chotpatpaisan, an 11th grade student at Nawaminthrachinuthit School, had been leading a group of 30 students to demonstrate near Royal Plaza in Bangkok, demanding reforms in Thai education.

The group was also accompanied by a truck fitted with a loudspeaker, which prompted nearby police to arrest Mr. Netiwit and other students, as their action was deemed a violation of Internal Security Act which forbids political rallies in governmental districts.

The Act was enacted by the government several weeks ago to deter anti-government protesters from encircling Government House.

The students were brought to Dusit Police Station, where they argued against their charge by insisting that their case had nothing to do with politics. Mr. Netiwit also reportedly told the police they merely intended to march to the Ministry of Education so they could submit an open letter to the officials there.

The police eventually relented, dropping the charge on Internal Security Act, but nevertheless fined the students 500 baht for using an illegally modified vehicle. The students were released around 14.00.

Prachatai reports that the police later escorted the activists to the Ministry of Education on two police vans, and the students successfully submitted their letter to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education.

The letter demands, among other issues, an abolition of "outdated" regulations which allegedly contradicts with modern human rights principles.

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