Arrest warrants issued against six protesters

Thai authorities have issued arrest warrants for six activists who took part in a demonstration at which students issued a 10-point call for reform of the monarchy last week, police said as students called more protests.

The charges against the six were not over the demands made at the protest by thousands of people at Thammasat University on Aug 10, but for breaching internal security and measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus as well as computer crimes.

The six include Panusaya Sithijirawattankul, 21, the student who read out a manifesto demanding reform of the monarchy.

They also include Anon Nampa, who made the first public call for royal reform and has also been charged over earlier protests.

“They can hand themselves in today or whenever but shouldn’t bring a crowd,” said Police Lt Gen Amphol Buarabporn yesterday.

“If they don’t hand themselves in, we can arrest them when they’re spotted.”

Student-led protests have taken place almost daily for more than a month to demand the departure of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former junta leader, a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists.

Some students have also called for reforms to curb the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn over the constitution, the armed forces and the palace fortune – touching a subject that had long been taboo in Thailand.

The Ministry of Digital Economy will file a complaint against exiled academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun for creating a Facebook group deemed critical of the monarchy, said ministry spokesperson Putchapong Nodthaisong.

“We have filed a request to Facebook to delete the entire group, but the platform hasn’t been cooperative,” he said.

“So the ministry is now going to use the Computer Crime Act.”

Two of the six activists wanted over the Aug 10 rally are among three who have already been arrested once and bailed for the organisation of earlier protests. — Reuters

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