Republicanism and those shirts I

10 09 2018

As one of the women arrested on unspecified charges for possession of black t-shirts was permitted to see her two children, more details of the arrests became available.

Another woman, identified only as Surangkanang, who allegedly purchased a shirt was released. However, the woman still in custody, identified as Wannapa and aged 30, is accused of “distributing T-shirts the authorities deemed ‘politically offensive’…”. She was apparently detained at the 11th Military Circle military camp several days ago. Wannapa is reportedly a motorcycle-taxi rider and lived in Samut Prakan.

A later report suggests that she may not have been “distributing,” but this begs the question of why she remains in custody.

Her “crime” relates to the possession and (perhaps) distribution of black shirts “bearing a small red-and-white emblem on the upper left front, a ‘flag’ alleged to be the symbol of a group calling itself the ‘Federation of Thai States’.”

The military now states that she will be held for 7 days and then charged.

A Defense spokesman says it is conducting “an investigation into an underground group seeking to install a federal republic in Thailand…”. He disclosed that the authorities have been “monitoring the group which has urged its supporters to wear black T-shirts with a red and white logo.”

Social media suggests that the “network” is associated with missing red shirt activist Ko Tee or Wuthipong Kachathamakul. Ko Tee disappeared or was disappeared while in Laos or, some say, Cambodia. That isn’t yet clear.

Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said: “We have to find out where they got the T-shirts from, and who made the T-shirts … We are investigating the matter.” Dangerous shirts, dangerous message.

Social media reports are that 3-4 others have been rounded up.

Khaosod reports that “republican activists confirmed the shirts as their own and denounced the arrests as an attempt to intimidate the public.” It claims “growing support for its cause.”

The newspaper reports a senior army officer confirming the witch hunt. He worried that social media was misrepresenting the arrests – not the media we have seen, but this is the Thai military speaking – saying the women “might have links to Organization for a Thai Federation. This is a big issue…”, adding that his boys have “evidence” of yet another deep plot.

Khaosod has it that the “Organization for Thai Federation is reportedly run by a group of Redshirt activists living in exile in Laos. It’s difficult to gauge how much or little support it has, though its online videos typically rack up tens of thousands of views.” It is said that the “group issues prolific dispatches, having published numerous videos on YouTube – most of them several hours long – in which they discuss their republican ideas between bouts of dizzying conspiracy theories.”

On YouTube there are several versions of video – actually more like radio programs – under the banner of Organization for Thai Federation and Sanamluang20082008. Some have hundreds of views and others more than 10,000. Clicking the links opens sites probably banned in Thailand.

One of these videos that seems to have agitated the military: “In mid-August, the group leader, known as Uncle Sanam Luang, called upon his supporters in Thailand to don black T-shirts with their red and white flag emblem to raise awareness of the group.” With the group declaring that the new generation no longer wants the monarchy, Uncle Sanam Luang is reported to say: “We have to make it a reality. Who would do it? The people. The people are owners of the country, not anyone else…. Therefore, we have to wake up. We have to do everything we can.”

It is not yet known if the charges likely to be laid are lese majeste, sedition or some other combination.


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13 09 2018
Anti-democracts, treason and bucket loads of double standards | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Treason is in the news. There are a bunch of people, some seemingly held secretly and without legal representation, accused of treason for something to do with black shirts, anti-monarchism, republicanism and separatism. […]

13 09 2018
Anti-democracts, treason and bucket loads of double standards | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Treason is in the news. There are a bunch of people, some seemingly held secretly and without legal representation, accused of treason for something to do with black shirts, anti-monarchism, republicanism and separatism. […]




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