BANGKOK — Authorities are working to locate and re-educate a group of student activists who ate sandwiches in protest of the military junta today, said the deputy chief of the Thai police.
This morning, six members of the student activist group Centre of Students for Democracy of Thailand (CSDT) ate sandwiches and read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four in front of the US Embassy in Bangkok.
Their rally followed a one-man demonstration at the embassy on Sunday, in which a lone protester voiced his anger towards the US government for downgrading its military relations with Thailand in response to last month's military coup d'etat.
Although the military junta has strictly banned all forms of political protest, a senior police commander said on Sunday that the anti-America protester, Thep Vetchavisit, was exempted from the ban because he was merely voicing his anger towards the US government.
The anti-coup CSDT activists said they were staging their demonstration at the US Embassy today to enjoy the same privilege enjoyed by Mr. Thep.
However, deputy commander of the Royal Thai Police Somyot Pumphanmuang made it clear that the CSDT will be prosecuted for violating the ban on political protests, according to a report by pro-coup newspaper Naew Na.
"The police have photographed [the demonstrators] and sent these images to the military for further procedures," Pol.Gen. Somyot was quoted as saying. "They will summon the students who were at the rally for readjustment of their attitudes."
Over the past month, eating sandwiches and reading Nineteen Eighty-four in public have become symbols of anti-coup resistance as activists have sought to circumvent the junta’s ban on political demonstrations. Last week, an anti-junta activist was arrested and detained for eating a sandwich and reading Nineteen Eighty-four in front of a major shopping mall in central Bangkok.
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