BANGKOK — Conservative activist Veera Somkwamkid and seven others were released from military custody this morning, three days after they were arrested for violating the junta’s ban on public demonstrations.
Mr. Veera and the other demonstrators were detained by security forces near Victory Monument on 24 August for campaigning to overhaul Thailand’s energy sector. Thailand's military junta banned public protests shortly after declaring martial law three months ago.
Mr. Veera is a well-known ultra-nationalist activist who recently returned to Thailand after spending nearly four years in a Cambodian prison for trespassing across the border during his campaign to "reclaim" the territory around Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple.
Mr. Veera and the seven other "Partnership for Energy Reform" activists were released this morning without charges.
Although authorities insist that the ban on public protests applies to all political causes, all 48 individuals who face criminal charges for violating the ban were arrested for participating in anti-coup demonstrations, according to data gathered by iLaw.
Shortly after he was released from custody this morning, Mr. Veera resumed his role at the helm of the energy reform movement by joining a public panel discussion at the Army Club about the group's demands for "taking back" the PTT, the state oil enterprise that is partially owned by the private sector.
Although the "Partnership for Energy Reform" group has a variety of goals, such as opposition to coal power plants and demands for cheaper energy prices, the nationalisation of the PTT has been its primary agenda.
Today's panel was also joined by Buddha Issara, the Buddhist monk and conservative activist who actively campaigned against the previous government.
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