BANGKOK — Several anti-government activists said Thursday they were followed by what they believed to be plainclothes officers for their activities on the anniversary of the June 24, 1932, democratic revolt.
Anonymous street artist who goes by the name of “Headache Stencil” said in a phone interview that four men were seen loitering close to his condominium building for about two hours on Wednesday night. Another student activist also reported being followed by an unmarked vehicle.
“I was afraid. I arrived past midnight. Something is off and not normal,” Headache Stencil recalled on the phone.
The artist said he tried to drive away from the condominium on Sukhumvit Road but the four men gave pursuit. Headache Stencil said he managed to lose them and spent a night at his friend’s house.
A condominium security guard later told him the four men introduced themselves as police officers but did not present any ID card, said the street artist, who has drawn ire from the authorities in the past for his political work.
The incident came just hours after Headache Stencil projected the images of 1932 revolt co-leader Pridi Banomyong on the wall of the Grand Palace. The images also show the revolutionaries’ proclamation that announced the end of absolute monarchy.
Police spokesman Col. Kissana Phathanacharoen said on the phone Thursday that he has no knowledge of security officers harassing the activists. He urged those feeling threatened to take photos of the stalkers and file a complaint.
“If they face this kind of danger or feel unsafe, they should file a police complaint.” Kissana said. “We are happy to protect them.”
When asked whether he would file a report to the police, Headache Stencil said he no longer trusted the police, adding that it was the fourth time plainclothes officers followed him.
“Filing a complaint to a goon about other goons? Life today is not so simple,” the artist said. “I have never felt the fear, but now, under the Emergency Decree, they could just do anything. … I think what I should do is to get a U.S. Visa.”
Student activist Parit Chiwarak also said he was followed by a suspicious vehicle after leaving a protest marking the 88th anniversary of the revolution that toppled the King’s direct rule in Thailand, known as Siam at the time.
Commemorating the democratic revolt is now considered a taboo by the authorities. Sizable police forces to guard landmarks associated with the revolution on Wednesday, including the Royal Plaza in Bangkok where the 1932 coup took place.