A crowd of pro-democracy protesters staged a spontaneous protest at the BTS Siam-National Stadium skywalk in Bangkok yesterday, February 9th, in the evening after the Thai Criminal Court denied bail for four prominent protest leaders over lése majesté charges.
Four activists, namely Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyae, arrived at the Court on Ratchadapisek road yesterday morning to hear the court decisions of their sedition and lése majesté charges, filed by a public prosecutor, related to several pro-democracy demonstrations last year.
The Court continued the charges against the activists and denied bail for all activists, marking the first case of lése majesté charges of the year. The decision had sparked outrage among pro-democracy demonstrators before the Ratsadorn Group announced an urgent rally in downtown Bangkok, despite an emergency decree in effect to control Covid-19 banning gatherings, rallies, and protests.
As of 7:00 PM., the BTS skywalk was filled with a large crowd of pro-democracy protesters. Prominent protest leader,
Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, also arrived at the site, giving a speech of how Thailand’s lése majesté law and penalties have, in her opinion, dehumanized basic human rights and the freedom of speech.
A number of Pathumwan police approached the skywalk around 8:00 PM. and announced that the demonstration had violated the Emergency Decree and must end immediately. The demonstrators refused to disperse but instead booed at them and continued gathering, despite law enforcement warning of the potential spread of Covid-19.
A small scuffle between both sides was reported but no one was injured nor arrested.
The rally went on for another hour until Rung announced the end of the demonstration at 9:00 PM. and called for another gathering at the BTS-National Stadium skywalk today, February 10th, at 5:00 PM.
We will provide updates on today’s protest later this evening.
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