A Thai student activist and student leader has pledged to continue to protest the government and demand reform of the monarchy after being held overnight on protest-related charges last month and released on bail.
Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, 22, was arrested Friday and charged with breaking homeland security rules and breaking regulations to stop the spread of the coronavirus, among other charges, by co-hosting a protest on July 18.
Since that protest in July, student groups from Thailand’s universities and high schools have gathered almost daily, demanding the impeachment of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in a 2014 military coup. , and the end of the military domination of politics. .
Some students have also called for reforms of the powerful monarchy, once a taboo subject.
Parit told reporters in court that he was ordered not to re-offend as a condition of his bail, but that the director general of the court had agreed that he could take part in a large demonstration scheduled for Sunday.
Monarchists gather at the Democracy Monument just hours before the student-led protest against the government is scheduled at the same site. The group said it would collect evidence from students defaming the monarchy and send it to the police. # Thailand #KE pic.twitter.com/WW8aQQ2iT7
– Khaosod English (@KhaosodEnglish) 16 août 2020
“My arrest must not be in vain, people must speak out more publicly about the monarchy,” Parit said after reciting a 10-point call for monarchy reform launched earlier this week by one of the student groups.
“We have raised the ceiling, it is no longer possible to lower it now. ”
The monarchy is protected by a strict lese majesty law that punishes anyone who offends King Maha Vajiralongkorn or his family, but Prime Minister Prayuth said earlier this year that the king had asked that it not be used.
Prayuth called for national unity earlier this week, but also said some of student activists’ demands for the monarchy “went too far.”
Last week, two other activists were arrested and then released on charges similar to those of Parit.
On Saturday, Human Rights Watch warned that police plan to arrest at least 31 other people, including many leaders of student movements, in the coming days.
“Each new arrest of a peaceful democracy activist shows the authoritarian tendencies of the Thai government and the lack of respect for human rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW.
“Peaceful protests and critical expression demanding political reform must not be criminalized. “