Anti-Gov’t Activists Burn Warrants Before Hearing Protest Charges

Activist Parit Chiwarak flashes a three-finger salute after placing “The People’s Party plaque” sticker onto the door of Bang Khen Police Station on Sept. 30, 2020.
Activist Parit Chiwarak flashes a three-finger salute after placing “The People’s Party plaque” sticker onto the door of Bang Khen Police Station on Sept. 30, 2020.

BANGKOK — Protest leaders on Wednesday heard their charges filed by the police for their anti-government rallies, including one in front of a police station in August.

The activists turned themselves in to the investigators at Bang Khen Police Station, but not before they burned their summons warrants in an act of defiance.

Parit Chiwarak, Sirapob Phumphengphut, and five other activists were charged for a protest they held in front of the station on Aug. 7. Parit described the investigation as an injustice against anti-government demonstrators.

“This is unfair,” Parit said. “It goes against the law. They’re just following their master’s orders. There’s no need to seek approval for holding public assemblies, the law only requires 24-hour notice. They’re prejudiced toward the pro-democracy group, the Thai Phakdee group has never been charged.”

The activists then lit their summon warrants with a lighter and flashed the three-finger salute before seeing the police.

An activist lights the summon warrant before seeing the investigators.
An activist lights the summon warrant before seeing the investigators.

The warrant accused them of violating a public assembly law by rallying without police approval on Aug. 7, when demonstrators surrounded Bang Khen Police Station to demand release of activists Arnon Nampa and Panupong Jadnok who were held there for their roles in the Aug. 3 rally at the Democracy Monument.

Other offenses include using a loudspeaker without permission and blocking traffic, Parit said.

The activists denied all charges.

After hearing the charges, Parit also placed a “People’s Party plaque” sticker on top of the police emblem on the station’s door, prompting the police to fine him for 1,000 baht on the spot for violating the cleanliness law.