Student Protesters Told to Be Careful in Their Speeches

A Harry Potter-themed protest on Aug. 4, 2020.
A Harry Potter-themed protest on Aug. 4, 2020.

BANGKOK — A police spokesman on Thursday urged protesters to stay within the boundary of the laws in their protests against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s administration.

Col. Kissana Phathanacharoen said he is concerned about the references to the monarchy during the recent anti-government rallies, which he said could become provocative and result in protesters of different camps clashing on each other.

“I ask the protesters, especially those behind the Monday’s protest at Thammasat University, to consider legal boundaries,” Col. Kissana said. “I believe everyone knows what can and can’t be done.”

The spokesman also said police will seek court permission to revoke bail for civil rights lawyer and activist Arnon Nampha, who was arrested and later released on charges of sedition and breaking the Emergency Decree for his role in the protests. 

His bond was set at 100,000 baht each and granted on a condition that they would not “repeat” the offenses. Arnon later went onstage and gave speeches at several rallies. 

At the Parliament, coalition politicians also demanded PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to take strict action against the protesters.

“I have received complaints from the public that they feel uncomfortable with the current political climate,” Bhumjaithai MP Sanong Thep-aksornnarong said at a parliamentary session. “They want to see strict enforcement of law, and they must end up in prison if they are guilty.”

Sonthiya Sawasdee, a former MP candidate for the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, also filed a complaint against those behind Monday’s rally at Khlong Luang Police Station on Thursday afternoon.

He said the references to the Royal Family made on stage could be considered as a violation of Article 108 of the Penal Code, which punishes anyone who commits or calls for violence against the monarch.

“I agree with the protest, but it must not infringe on the rights of others,” Sonthiya said. “I don’t want to see Thailand end up having a civil war like in Syria.”

Note: Some details were withheld from this article due to legal concerns.