Four prominent pro-democracy activists, including Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, surrendered to Royal Thai police at the National Police Headquarters in Bangkok this afternoon, August 8th, following arrest warrants issued by the Tanyaburi provincial court for reportedly violating the Emergency Decree.
The arrest warrants were made against Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Sirichai “New” Nathuang, Nutchanon Pairote, and Promsorn “Fah” Veerathamjaree and requested by the Khlong Ha police in Khlong Luang district after reportedly staging a protest to demand the release of Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa at the Region 1 Border Police Bureau on August 2nd.
According to the arrest warrants, they were mainly charged with illegal assembly with more than five people which is a risk of spreading Covid-19 Coronavirus, violating the Emergency Decree and the Communicable Disease Control Act. Under current strict Covid-19 related laws and measures, nearly all types of assembly are banned and illegal. Authorities say it is to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and not political, but many protesters disagree.
Penguin told reporters that an upcoming car-mob demonstration organized by the “United Thammasat for Demonstration” would continue according to the plan at the Ratchaprasong intersection on Tuesday, August 10th, whether he was released on bail today or not.
All of them were arrested after presenting to the headquarters and were escorted to Khlong Ha police station for further questioning at around 3:00 PM.
As of 4:15 PM., the detainees were reportedly detained at the Region 1 Border Police Bureau before being taken to Thanyaburi Provincial Court tomorrow. All bail is denied at the moment.
Regarding yesterday’s heating protest, many pro-democracy supporters online had started to disagree with aggressive protests in Bangkok and trended the hashtag “#แบนFreeYOUTH” on Twitter since yesterday. In Thai, this is simply “Ban Free Youth.” The Free Youth group was the primary organizer of yesterday’s protest and has been known to utilize more aggressive tactics during their rallies, according to Royal Thai Police.
Clashes between the protesters and the police forces broke out at Din Daeng intersection and at the Victory Monument as they tried to gather and break through the police barricades in an attempt to march to several strategic locations in Bangkok. Teargas and rubber bullets were used to disperse the protesters, injuring both police, protesters, and reportedly nearby residents.
However, the sudden change of protest site and the tactics of yesterday’s protest, organized by the Free Youth movement, had angered and disappointed many supporters as they were considered unplanned and aggressive, causing many guards and participants to be unnecessarily injured. Additionally, a small minority of protesters were reportedly showing extreme aggression towards security forces which culminated in the burning of a police detainment vehicle. It is unclear who set fire to the vehicle.
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