Activists Promise Protest if Watana Not Released by Military

Watana Muangsook greets soldiers as he surrenders to the military on Monday at the 11th Army Circle headquarters in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Former Pheu Thai MP Watana Muangsook was held a second day today at an undisclosed military base, prompting activists to threaten a public protest if he is not soon released.

The Pheu Thai Party on Tuesday issued a statement demanding Watana’s unconditional release, while junta leaders justified detaining the veteran politician without charge on the grounds that his opposition to the junta’s draft constitution amounts to inciting unrest.

Watana Defiant as He Turns Himself in at Army Base


“At this moment, 70 million people are happy,” deputy junta chairman Prawit Wongsuwan said Tuesday. “We aren’t using any double standard. Anything causing damage or conflict in this land cannot be done.”

Watana turned himself in Monday in response to a military summons last week for what was described as an “attitude adjustment” session. The summons came after he posted on Facebook that he would vote against the draft charter when it goes to voters in a referendum currently planned for August. Watana turned himself in at the 11th Army Circle headquarters in Bangkok after first saying he was unavailable due to the Thai New Year holidays. 

Unnamed junta sources have been quoted in media reports saying that Watana has been moved to another military facility in the outskirts of the capital. 


Soldiers took Watana Muangsook into custody Monday

Arnon Nampha, leader of pro-democracy group Resistant Citizens, wrote online Tuesday that if Watana is not released by noon, his group will defy the junta’s ban on protests and stage a rally at 6pm at Victory Monument.

“6pm, white shirts, together at Victory Monument,” Arnon wrote.

Asked by a reporter when Watana will be released, Gen. Prawit, the deputy junta leader, replied that he doesn’t have a clue.

“I don’t know. Come on, just let them do their work,” Gen. Prawit said of the security forces.

In an English-language statement released Monday evening, the Pheu Thai Party said Watana’s detention violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and demanded his immediate, unconditional release.

“Mr. Watana’s action, or similar actions by any other persons, should not be claimed by the NCPO as posing a danger to the national security or disrupt peace and those persons should not be detained without charges,” the statement said. “Therefore, Mr. Watana’s detainment, on whatever pretext, is to be considered an extreme violation of his basis [sic] rights and of the human rights.”



Related stories:

Junta to Detain Critical Politicians 7 Days at Military Sites for Reeducation

Pheu Thai’s Watana Promises to Surrender by Monday

Watana Wanted for ‘Attitude Adjustment’ Again

Politico Accuses Soldier of Punching Him


Teeranai Charuvastra can be reached at [email protected] and @Teeranai_C.