BANGKOK — Police detained a prominent pro-democracy activist Friday afternoon for organizing protests against the government.
Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak was approached by a group of police officers and arrested in Nonthaburi on his way to a durian-themed protest. The arrest was captured in a video later posted on social media. The officer can be heard reading the charges of insurrection and blocking traffic to Parit.
The activist was taken to Pak Kret Police Station. Col. Pongjak Preechakarunpong said he has since been sent to Samranrat Police Station since the protest concerned in the case took place in that jurisdiction.
But a police officer picking up the phone at Samratrat Police Station said he was unaware of any details about Parit’s case. The station’s superintendent, Col. Itthipol Pongthon could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Yaowalak Anuphan, the head of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group said that she has sent a legal team to assist Parit at Samranrat police station.
She added that police were prosecuting Parit for holding the large-scale protest in months on July 18 on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, a rally that sparked similar anti-government protests to follow.
“It’s the same case as Arnon and Mike,” she said, referring to campaigners Arnon Nampha and Panupong Jadnok who were arrested under the same offenses on Aug. 7.
A photo circulated on social media last week also purported to show 31 people marked for arrest by the police, including Parit. Police have denied any knowledge about the document.