Further updated: Burning down the monarchy II

7 03 2021

The regime’s crackdown on protesters continues, as it uses its police to pick-off those it considers leaders. The police continue to act illegally, searching without warrants, detaining people without adequate identification, and detaining those arrested in illegal locations:

At the end of the protest, those arrested were divided into 2 groups: 18 were taken to Border Patrol Police Region 1, Pathum Thani, and the remaining 27 went to Paholyothin Police Station after protesters managed to surround the police van they were in and others managed to break out of another van.

Those who were broken out “walked with their lawyer to turn themselves in at Phahon Yothin police station.”

Mainstream media, supportive of the regime, reports events such as the arrest of Wevo guards as if they were legal and accepts regime claims with little scrutiny: police claimed those arrested “planned to use firearms to attack police and instigate violence during the rallies. A search during their arrests allegedly found objects that could be used as weapons … [they sad they] found 30 smoke bombs and one shield, among other items.”

Prachatai reports that the protesters arrived at the court complex on Ratchadapisek Roa] and began “burning rubbish,” piling up material and setting it alight.” This lasted less than 10 minutes and was non-violent. They extinguished the fires themselves. It adds:

It is reported that portraits of the King and the late King Rama IX were burned during the protest. Some protesters were seen trying to stop this. The demands for monarchy reform and repeal of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes insults and expressions of hostility against the king, queen, heir and regent, were also presented.

The burning of royal pictures has aroused wide interest after Chaiamorn ‘Ammy’ Kaewwiboonpan, lead singer of the pop band The Bottom Blues, was arrested for allegedly setting fire to a large portrait of King Rama X in front of Klong Prem Central Prison on the night of 27 February.

Later, a “blown-up letter ‘in the People’s Name, to the People’s Court’, was placed at the King’s portrait. The letter condemns the courts for the unfair detention of pro-democracy protesters and political prisoners and demands their release.”

Update 1: We have to say that the reporting of the arrest of the guards is getting more and more bizarre. We are not sure if this is because the police are simply concocting a story that is piled upon buffalo manure or because the reporting is awful. But, based on track record, we tend to think it is the former. The latest pile, via Thai PBS, is of the Metropolitan Police  launching an “investigation” of “shots” that damaged police buses during the last ReDem rally. Perhaps it was Men in Black? But they are police…. Anyway, the story gets increasingly weird.

Pol Lt-Gen Pakkapong Pongpetra, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is reported as having said:

… police booked Piyarat Chongthep, alias Toto, head of the WeVo guards, and three other guards at the car park of Major Ratchayothin shopping mall, after they found 15 slingshots, 50 steel pellets, 300 glass pellets, 30 smoke bombs, 30 plastic bags containing fermented fish, 13 crash helmets, 37 bullet-proof vests, a teargas canister and a police shield in their shoulder bags. He claimed that the non-lethal weapons were to be used to trigger violence at the protest site.

Based on the footage released (see link above), this seems an outlandish claim. How they would get all of that gear in should bags is another claim that seems to stretch the realms of credulity. Either these were Santa sized shoulder bags or the cops are making stuff up.

Update 2: So let’s see if we have this right. The police arrest a bunch of WeVo guards and claim they have all kinds of weapons and other paraphernalia associated with “violence.” One report states: “Police held at least 48 guards and people in an eventful arrest at a shopping mall on Saturday afternoon.” The very same day, they release most of them: “Of them, 30 were later released on the same day without charges.” 15 of the remainder faced charges and all but one were released: “The Criminal Court has denied bail for Piyarat “Toto” Chongthep, leader of Ratsadon guards, but allowed 14 other people held on Saturday to temporarily walk free.”

It is added: “The charges against them came on Sunday. Police claimed the WeVo (We Volunteer) group, led by Mr Piyarat, was an illegal association. It was an assembly of more than five, hid its methods of operations, divided its responsibilities and aimed to commit illegal acts.” This is using the ancient anti-Chinese secret society law from the early 20th century. No weapons charges that we can see. Interestingly, the Post has two versions of events, suggesting that there’s some doubt emerging about police claims.


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