Watching the republicans

15 04 2019

The military and its junta have apparently been maintaining close surveillance of republicans, or at least those they think and/or guess are republicans. Perhaps it has something to do with the coronation, which has seen increasing efforts to “cleanse” the reign of opponents.

Prachatai reports that on 2 April, “plainclothes officers also arrested Thoedsak (last name withheld), another defendant in the Thai Federation case. Officers presented him with an arrest warrant and took him in a van from Phuket while he was working as a private chauffeur.”

The Thai Federation case is linked to republicans in exile, some of whom were murdered (see links in out first paragraph above).

This was followed by what looks remarkably like another Keystone Cops effort.

Prachatai cites Thai Lawyers for Human Rights on a police pursuit and arrest of a “56-year-old civil servant on suspicion of involvement in the Thai Federation movement.” Identified only as Rani, the 56 year-old civil servant was arrested at Sukhothai Thammathirat University where she was attending her son’s graduation. She was:

arrested at 14.10 on Thursday (11 April) and charged under Article 209 of the Criminal Code for being a member of a secret society and under Article 116, the sedition law, for ‘expressing to the public by words, writing, or any other means, anything which is not an act within the purpose of the Constitution or for expressing an honest opinion or criticism in order to cause the people to transgress the law of the country’.

She has denied all charges and was released on bail on 13 April.

It is reported that “Rani was among a number of citizens under continuous surveillance.”

Rani’s political harassment seems to result from her wearing of a black t-shirt on 5 December 2018, the birthday of the most recently deceased king. She wore it to a mall. The shirt had no Thai Federation logo.

Presumably some observant and nervous royalist ratted her out to the cops and some five “plainclothes police officers came to speak to her and asked her to go with them, but she refused…”. She demanded to see and photograph officers’ ID cards.

Later, pictures appeared on YouTube and two days later, soldiers and police tried to search Rani’s house. She refused. Now she’s arrested and charged.

“Cleansing” is becoming a theme for the new reign, whether it is symbols of the anti-royalist past, palace officials, wives or those identified as opponents.


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