Student activists on Wednesday applied to a court that Thailand’s government declared a state of emergency last week in an attempt to curb the country’s growing anti-government protests.
Demonstrations have continued daily in a movement that calls for Prime Minister Prathuth Chan-Okha to step down, for a more democratic constitution and to reform the monarchy – a revered institution traditionally considered sacred in Thailand.
The protesters gathered for the eighth straight day on Wednesday, even as many of their top leaders were detained and emergency meetings of more than four people were halted.
The main group of a few thousand was found at the Victory Memorial in Bangkok, and then began to march to the Prime Minister’s Office Government House.
Meanwhile, a taped speech by the Prime Minister was to be aired on Wednesday evening. They were demanding a peaceful solution to the political crisis through parliamentary means.
Even the forcible dispersal of the rally by the riot police supported by the Water Cannon in Bangkok last Friday failed to incite protesters, who appeared in equal or greater numbers in later days.
Since Friday, police have not directly confronted the protesters, instead trying to disrupt their gatherings by selective shutdowns of mass change and blocking their online organizing activities.
Six university students who went to a civil court in Bangkok on Wednesday are suing Prathuth, Deputy Prime Minister Pravit Wongsuwan and National Police Chief Suwat Chengyodsuk. They want the court to temporarily rescind the emergency decree until a full legal order can be issued on its legal validity.
The students, who read their petition to the media in Thai, English and German, said the decree restricted the Legislative right of the Assembly and “excessively, wrongly and shamelessly violated the rights and freedoms of the people” of the Constitution. There is no honor.
The court did not take action on his plea but is likely to pronounce a decision on Thursday on one such appeal filed by the opposition Faye Thai party on Tuesday.
Separately on Wednesday, two protest leaders pleaded in Bangkok’s criminal court to be released on bail. After a hearing, however, the court refused to release them, saying they could pose a threat to public order.
The two-parit “Penguin” Chivarak and Pansuya “Rung” Sithijarvatankul – were initially detained on the night of October 14. during an overnight tryout outside the Prime Minister’s Office. He was released, but immediately resuscitated on other charges.
As he was being driven into the court premises in a prison van, Parit opened a window, gave a three-fingered salute – a symbol of the protesters’ defense – and shouted, “The court should side with the people!”
Another worker was arrested on Wednesday morning in connection with last week’s protests. Sunnart Panprasert is accused of engaging in acts of harm against the queen when her motorcycle passed through a small crowd of protesters. Depending on the charge levied with him by a court, if convicted, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
According to eyewitnesses and video footage, there was no violence with the passing of the motorcycle, but a small group of people staged a three-finger protest and raised slogans on the car carrying Rani Sutida, wife of Raja Maha Vaziralkorn.
The call for reform of the monarchy gripped conservative Thais. Royalists have increased their presence online and held a small rally on Wednesday.
Thailand’s parliament is working again for a special session next week to deal with the political pressure of the protests. The government has also sought to censor the reporting of demonstrations, citing “distorted information” that could cause unrest and confusion, but targeted outlets continue to broadcast on Wednesday.
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