An ultra-royalist group asked the criminal court to revoke the bail of pro-reform leaders on Tuesday, saying they are repeatedly breaking the conditions of their release by continuing to speak out against the monarchy. They also said demonstrations are a Covid risk.
“The protestors have caused chaos within society, affecting the private sector and damaging public property,” said Jakkapong Klinkaew, the leader of the People’s Centre Protecting the Institution, adding that many business owners and royalists consider them “scum.”
“It is true that the government is not working fully but we should use this crisis to fix things instead of creating any more social conflict.”
“What they are doing are not peaceful protests,” he added. “They claim to be educated university students, but students are supposed to be studying not spreading fake news to younger people.”
The group submitted a letter addressed to Sitthichote Intharawiset, the Criminal Court chief justice, to ask the court to revoke the bail of Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Arnon Nampa and Jatupat “Pai Daodin” Boonpattararaksa, who have all been charged with lese-mejeste and sedition for organizing pro-democracy rallies since June 2020.
The letter said the protest leaders have continued to join protests and making speeches against the royal institution in breach of their bail conditions.
“There is so much evidence on the news and on social media so we would like to ask the court that is not enough evidence yet? Everyone can see it,” Jakkapong said.
“More protests would lead to new [Covid] clusters and it is clear that there are infected people within the mobs.”
“The protest leaders should find the pros and cons on each side to talk about instead of citing unrest and using violence because that is not the way in this modern era,” he added.
According to the Thai Lawyer for Human Rights, 100 people have been charged with the violation of Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code between 24 November 2020 and 11 June 2021.
The 112 law bars any insult against the royal institution and carries a jail sentence of three to 15 years.
Since November 2020, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s government has held 17 people in pre-trial detention over lese-majeste charges, including Penguin, Rung, Arnon and Pai. All are out on bail.
The Ratsadon group has vowed to continue to call for the reformation of the royal institution, with rallies scheduled for Tuesday and Saturday.