Updated: Taunting the regime and palace

1 01 2021

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

Social media has been reporting it, but the mainstream media has avoided it. And, again, it has been left to Prachatai to report the the mock body bags that have been showing up around Bangkok.

The mock bags are meant to look like this one (left), found in the Mekong River.

Perhaps the first mock bag was discussed on 27 December in a Facebook post that went viral. It showed a bag at the Memorial Bridge with the name Surachai. Most have assumed that this refers to Surachai Danwattananusorn, an exile who was “disappeared” in 2018.

On 28 December, at the FreeArts Facebook page with a photo showing the bag “hanging at Asok intersection with the name tag ‘DJ Sunho’, the working name of Ittipon Sukpaen, a famous underground radio broadcaster who disappeared while in exile in 2016.”

Another body bag was “placed at the ‘Uncle Nuamthong [Praiwan] Pedestrian Bridge’, in front of the Thairath newspaper office on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, where he hanged himself on 31 December 2006, a day after he crashed his taxi into a tank.”

These acts are clearly taunting those considered responsible for enforced disappearances and murders of activists: the regime and the palace.

As Prachatai explains:

Since 2016, at least 9 Thai activists have disappeared while living in self-exile in Southeast Asia. They were critics of the monarchy and the military government which staged a coup in 2014. Some of them had been charged under the lèse majesté law, Section 112 of the Criminal Code.

Also taunting the regime is the volunteer protest guard group We Volunteer (WeVo). Sixteen of them – including minors – have been arrested for “organising a shrimp sale at Sanam Luang…” and nearby. They stated that the “shrimp were brought from Nakhon Pathom and that they are organizing the shrimp sale to support farmers who are unable to sell their shrimp due to the new outbreak of Covid-19.”

At Sanam Luang, the WeVo group was surrounded by “300 – 500 crowd control police officers in full riot gear…”.

They are “charged with colluding to organise a public assembly that imperils public health, defying disease containment orders and colluding to use powerful loud-speakers in public without permission.” The penalty for violating the emergency decree can be a prison term of up to two years, a fine of 40,000 baht or both.

As has become common, those “arrested at Sanam Luang were then brought to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 headquarters in Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani.” So far, they have been denied bail.

Update: Reported at The Nation:

In a statement issued via the Facebook page of United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, Ratsadon said:

“Police officers used excessive force during the arrest of Wevo members, which also included some adolescents, such as dragging and carrying them, as well as deploying tear gas.

“The authorities completely ignored the fact that the activity at Sanam Luang was in no way against the law.

“We condemn the actions of police officers and the dictatorial-feudal government which is behind the arrests. And we demand immediate release of the arrested members.

“Furthermore, we urge the government to do their job by rolling out measures to help seafood farmers and merchants who have been affected by the outbreak,” added the group.


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