BANGKOK — A large police operation appears to be underway on Friday to arrest the leaders behind ongoing anti-government protests, with at least two campaigners already in custody.
Arnon Nampha and Panupong Jadnok were detained in Bangkok earlier today and charged with insurrection for their roles in the protests calling for the government’s reform, human rights lawyer Yaowalak Anuphan said, adding that at least 31 people are marked for arrests.
Police spokesman Kissana Phattanacharoen declined to confirm the figures, but said all suspects will be treated in accordance with the legal processes.
“There won’t be any double-standard,” Col. Kissana said.
Student activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak said on the phone he was informed by his lawyer that he was among the wanted list.
“I’ll think about it first,” Parit said when asked whether he will turn himself in.
In a social media post written just before his arrest, lawyer and activist Arnon said he was named as the seventh suspect in the warrant.
Arnon said the warrant accused him of inciting sedition, breaching the Emergency Decree’s ban on assemblies, and traffic offenses.
The arrests followed a series of rallies and demonstrations that demanded a new election and a more democratic Constitution. The authorities have repeatedly said the protests were a violation of the emergency law that bans large gatherings to prevent the coronavirus outbreak.
The protests started as an attack on the government, though in the latest rally on Monday the protest leaders, among them Arnon, spoke of the need to reform the monarchy – a deeply sensitive subject in Thailand.