Nine anti-coup leaders arrested in Thailand – Asia-Pacific

MonstersandCritics.com

Jul 26, 2007, 8:15 GMT

Bangkok – Nine leaders of a violent anti-coup demonstration held over the weekend in Bangkok were arrested Thursday after hearing police charges against them.

Jakrapob Penkair, one of the leaders of the United Front for Democracy and Against Dictatorship (UDD), said their arrest warrants had been issued by Criminal Court Judge Korpong Suwannajuta.

Their detention caught the nine anti-coup organizers by surprise because on Wednesday the court had said no arrest warrant would be necessary if the defendants appeared voluntarily to hear police charges at the court at 10:00 am.

‘This is a great betrayal of our trust,’ Jakrapob said in a telephone interview with Deutsche Presee-Agentur dpa. ‘We came to the court expecting to hear the police accusations and then to walk out of here.’

He said the defendants were refusing to leave the courtroom on the 12th floor of the court building on Rajadapiset Road in Bangkok.

The nine UDD leaders have been charged with organizing a gathering of more than 10 people, creating instability, causing traffic jams and using amplified sound without proper permits, said Weng Tojirakan, another UDD leader.

The UDD organized a mass rally of some 5,000 people outside the private home of former Thai prime minister General Prem Tinsulanonda on Sunday night in an effort to make him resign his position as president of the privy council, which acts as an advisory board to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

When police attempted to detain the rally’s leaders, fights broke out and an estimated 100 demonstrators and 200 police were injured.

The incident was unique in that it was the first demonstration over the past two years of political turmoil to end in violence.

Mass demonstrations became a daily occurrence in Bangkok early last year as the country’s elite and middle classes turned against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and demanded his resignation.

Thaksin was eventually ousted by a military coup on September 19. The UDD, comprising pro-democracy activists such as Weng and pro-Thaksin politicians such as Jakrapob, sprung up in the wake of the coup.

The movement’s broad goals are to discredit the coup, revoke all acts committed by the junta and call for immediate elections.

Nine anti-coup leaders arrested in Thailand – Asia-Pacific

Thailand detains anti-coup protest leaders

by Thanaporn Promyamyai

BANGKOK (AFP) – Nine anti-coup protest leaders were detained Thursday over clashes with police that left more than 100 injured last weekend, as the government threatened a state of emergency if more violence erupts.

The arrests came as the army-installed government prepared to hold a referendum on August 19 to approve a new constitution, in what the junta says will be a first step toward restoring democracy and legitimising their coup.

The nine protest leaders were detained for further questioning after appearing at a criminal court to hear the charges against them, police said.

“They were charged with illegal assembly and inciting violence, which they all denied,” said Bangkok deputy police chief Jet Mongkonhatti.

Four of the men detained were allies of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in the bloodless coup last September, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship protest group said in a statement.

Another five were pro-democracy activists who had joined forces with Thaksin’s allies to call on the junta to step down and to campaign against the military-backed constitution, the statement said.

The clashes broke out late Sunday when some 5,000 protesters tried to march from the Sanam Luang plaza in central Bangkok to the home of the top adviser of Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Police blocked the marchers, who began throwing stones and sticks. Riot police responded with teargas and batons to break up the crowd.

The incident was the first violence since the coup, and Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas warned the government would not allow a repeat of the clashes.

“If police cannot control the situation, the army will invoke the law — like an emergency decree. The army always has forces standing by,” he told the army-installed parliament.

Boonrawd urged the protesters to remain peaceful, saying: “The government does not want to have to use strong measures.”

The warning came as the government was launching its campaign to urge voters to approve the constitution, in the military’s first test at the ballot box since their takeover.

The military says the new charter will clear the way for elections by the end of the year, but opponents fear it will provide ways for the army to maintain an influence over government through powerful appointees.

Parliament on Wednesday approved a law that would make it a crime to obstruct the referendum.

Anyone convicted of misleading the public about the referendum, blocking voters from the polls, or damaging the ballot papers could face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum 200,000-baht (5,900-dollar) fine, according to the Election Commission.

Commission spokesman Ruangroj Chumsueb said people simply campaigning for voters to reject the proposed charter would not be punished under the law.

“People have the right to express their opinion, but those who create disturbances at referendum voting stations could face penalties,” he told AFP.

Anti-coup protesters have been holding rallies every night since early June, but they have failed to gain traction and normally attract only a few thousand people.

On Thursday about 7,000 farmers also took to the streets to demand that the government grant them debt relief, but police said their protest unfolded peacefully.

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Thailand threatens state of emergency if protests escalate

 

BANGKOK (Thomson Financial) – Thailand’s defence minister warned Thursday that the military-backed government could impose a state of emergency in Bangkok if more violence breaks out at anti-coup protests.

General Boonrawd Somtas told the army-installed parliament that the government will not allow a repeat of clashes last Sunday between protesters and police, when more than 100 people were injured.

“The government will not allow such violence to happen again,” the minister said.

“If police cannot control the situation, the army will invoke the law — like an emergency decree. The army always has forces standing by,” he told the parliament.

Boonrawd urged protesters to remain peaceful, saying: “The government does not want to have to use strong measures.”

The clashes broke out late Sunday when some 5,000 protesters tried to march from the Sanam Luang plaza in central Bangkok to the home of the top adviser of Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Police blocked the marchers, who began throwing stones and sticks. Riot police responded with tear gas and batons to break up the crowd.

The incident is the first violence since the coup, and comes as the military begins campaigning to urge voters to adopt its constitution.

The military says the new charter will clear the way for elections by the end of the year, but opponents fear the charter will provide ways for the army to maintain an influence over government through powerful appointees.

afp/jg

 

International Herald Tribune

Thai anti-coup rally leaders detained for at least 12 days

The Associated Press

Published: July 26, 2007

BANGKOK, Thailand: Nine leaders of an anti-government protest in Thailand that turned violent and resulted in hundreds of injuries were jailed without charge Thursday for at least 12 days.

The nine suspects from the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship appeared voluntarily in court to hear police allegations against them, including causing a public disturbance, damaging state property, and obstructing the work of, and injuring, officials.

Most of the nine are leading members of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s now disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party. Thaksin was ousted in September in a bloodless coup.

Violence broke out Sunday at a rally by several thousand people outside the home of former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda — the chief adviser to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The protesters accuse Prem of instigating the coup against Thaksin, and have called for him to resign his post.

About 200 police officers and 70 protesters were hurt, most with minor injuries. Some officials have blamed Sunday’s violence on Thaksin.

“The situation has turned increasingly violent because there is still a lot of financial support (from Thaksin) coming in through various networks to make political changes, because he is being prosecuted for several corruption charges,” said Prasong Soonsiri, chief of the Constitution Drafting Committee and a former head of the National Security Council.

Thaksin denies such allegations, and earlier this week issued a call for peace and reconciliation.

The nine complained their arrests Thursday were unfair, since they appeared at the Bangkok Criminal Court voluntarily.

Police can hold the suspects for two days for investigation. Then they will be transferred to the custody of the court for 10 more days, a judge’s order said. Suspects can be held for up to 84 days without being formally charged, but police must apply to the courts to have detentions extended every 12 days.

The protesters said they had not expected to be arrested after the court earlier denied the police’s request for arrest warrants.

“We were cooperating with the court and the police and we came for the interrogation. But we have been detained,” said Nattawut Saikua, one of the nine, by telephone.

Prasong said those organizing the recent protests against the military-backed government want to cause bloody riots that will receive publicity overseas to give the impression that Thailand’s new leadership is brutal and authoritarian.

The Thai military ousted Thaksin on Sept. 19, 2006 while he was abroad, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.

It installed an interim government and a council to draft a new constitution, which will be submitted to a national referendum next month. A general election is supposed to be held in December.

ReutersIndia

Thai coup protest leaders detained on court order

Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:53PM IST

By Chalathip Thirasoonthrakul

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Nine leaders of a violent anti-coup protest in Thailand were ordered to jail on Thursday after being charged with organising an illegal demonstration, instigating unrest and obstructing police.

Police took several hours to remove the nine, a mix of academics opposed to last September’s military coup and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, from the court, which was packed with around 80 distraught family and friends.

The group denied the charges and refused to apply for bail after the Criminal Court gave police permission to detain them for two days to fingerprint them and conduct further inquiries.

“I will not acknowledge the court’s decision,” former Thaksin spokesman Jakrapob Penkhair said as anti-coup demonstrators booed and jeered, some shouting “There is no justice in this country”.

Around 100 police and demonstrators were injured in the Sunday clashes, which took place outside the house of former Prime Minister and chief royal adviser Prem Tinsulanonda, whom Thaksin loyalists say masterminded the coup.

Six protesters were arrested for throwing rocks and bottles at police lines during the incident, the first outbreak of violence since the removal of Thaksin in what was Thailand’s 18th coup in 75 years of on-off democracy.

As a result of the trouble, the army-appointed government has said any future protests must stay within the confines of Sanam Luang, a large parade ground in front of the glittering spires of Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

Police have also been told they can use force, including tear gas and batons, to break up unruly demonstrations. 

“Initially, the government will let the police control the situation. If they can’t, then the army will come in either by emergency decree or martial law, depending on the situation,” Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas told parliament.

At face value, the coup stemmed from middle-class street protests in 2006 against Thaksin’s autocratic style and huge personal wealth, which his opponents say he wielded unfairly to secure unassailable support from rural voters.

But analysts say it was as much about a royalist military and corporate elite removing a nouveau riche, ethnic Chinese businessman who had encroached too far on their traditional turf.

Thaksin was in New York at the time of the coup and has spent most of the interim in London, where he has bought an English football club, or travelling round Asia playing golf and giving interviews and lectures.

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Arrests in Thailand after violent protests

ast Updated 25/07/2007, 22:22:54

A group of nine men will face Thailand’s Criminal Court on charges relating to a violent protest against the country’s junta.
South East Asia Correspondent Karen Percy reports that the men are members of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship.

On Sunday night several thousand of their supporters gathered outside the home of General Prem Tinsulanonda, a key advisor to Thailand’s King and a close friend of coup leader, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.

Some protesters threw rocks and bottles at the house demanding General Prem resign saying he was behind the military takeover last year.
Police say the wanted men are closely connected to ousted Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who’s in exile in London.
He’s also due to appear before Thai investigators on Wednesday over claims that he hid assets, but it’s unlikely that he’ll front.

Free Submission Public Relations & NewsPR-inside.com

Thai anti-coup rally leaders detained for at least 12 days

© AP

2007-07-26 15:33:36 –

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – Nine leaders of an anti-government protest in Thailand that turned violent and resulted in hundreds of injuries were jailed without charge Thursday for at least 12 days.

The nine suspects from the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship appeared voluntarily in court to hear police allegations against them, including causing a public disturbance, damaging state property, and obstructing the work of, and injuring, officials.

Most of the nine are leading members of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s now disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party. Thaksin was ousted in September in a bloodless coup.

Violence broke out Sunday at a rally by several thousand people outside the home of former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda _ the chief adviser to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The protesters accuse Prem of instigating the coup against Thaksin, and have called for him to resign his post.

About 200 police officers and 70 protesters were hurt, most with minor injuries. Some officials have blamed Sunday’s violence on Thaksin.
«The situation has turned increasingly violent because there is still a lot of financial support (from Thaksin) coming in through various networks to make political changes, because he is being prosecuted for several corruption charges,» said Prasong Soonsiri, chief of the Constitution Drafting Committee and a former head of the National Security Council.

Thaksin denies such allegations, and earlier this week issued a call for peace and reconciliation.
The nine complained their arrests Thursday were unfair, since they appeared at the Bangkok Criminal Court voluntarily.
Police can hold the suspects for two days for investigation. Then they will be transferred to the custody of the court for 10 more days, a judge’s order said. Suspects can be held for up to 84 days without being formally charged, but police must apply to the courts to have detentions extended every 12 days.
The protesters said they had not expected to be arrested after the court earlier denied the police’s request for arrest warrants.

«We were cooperating with the court and the police and we came for the interrogation. But we have been detained,» said Nattawut Saikua, one of the nine, by telephone.
Prasong said those organizing the recent protests against the military-backed government want to cause bloody riots that will receive publicity overseas to give the impression that Thailand’s new leadership is brutal and authoritarian.

The Thai military ousted Thaksin on Sept. 19, 2006 while he was abroad, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.
It installed an interim government and a council to draft a new constitution, which will be submitted to a national referendum next month. A general election is supposed to be held in December.

The Earthtimes

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 11:59:31 GMT

Bangkok – Bangkok Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced nine leaders of an anti-coup movement to 12 days in jail on charges of organizing an illegal rally, disrupting the peace and causing a traffic jam with a demonstration that turned violent last Sunday. The sentence, which cannot be appealed, followed swiftly on the unexpected arrests of the nine rally ringleaders Thursday morning.

Jakrapob Penkair, one of the leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said their arrest warrants were issued unexpectedly by Criminal Court Judge Korpong Suwannajuta after they showed up at the court to hear police charges.
On Wednesday the court announced that no arrest warrants would be necessary if the defendants appeared voluntarily to hear police charges at the court at 10 am Thursday. They arrived on time.

“This is a great betrayal of our trust,” Jakrapob said in a telephone interview with Deutsche Presee-Agentur dpa. “We came to the court expecting to hear the police accusations and then to walk out of here.” They were also denied bail.

The nine UDD leaders have been charged with organizing a gathering of more than 10 people, creating instability, causing traffic jams and using amplified sound without proper permits, said Weng Tojirakan, another UDD leader.

The UDD organized a mass rally of some 5,000 people outside the private home of former Thai prime minister General Prem Tinsulanonda on Sunday night in an effort to make him resign his position as president of the privy council, which acts as an advisory board to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Prem, an octogenarian former army commander in chief who was prime minister between 1979 to 1988, is still respected by in the military.
The UDD accused Prem of being the mastermind behind the September 19, 2006, coup that ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Prem has repeatedly denied any involvement in the coup.

When police attempted to detain the UDD leaders on Sunday, fights broke out and an estimated 100 demonstrators and 200 police were injured.
The incident was rare in that it was one of the few demonstrations over the past two years of political turmoil to end in violence.
Mass demonstrations became a daily occurrence in Bangkok early last year as the country’s elite and middle classes turned against former prime minister Thaksin and demanded his resignation.

Thaksin was eventually ousted by a military coup on September 19. The UDD, comprising pro-democracy activists such as Weng and pro-Thaksin politicians such as Jakrapob, sprung up in the wake of the coup.

The movement’s broad goals are to discredit the coup, revoke all acts committed by the junta and call for immediate elections.

 turkishpress.com

Thailand detains anti-coup protest leaders

07-26-2007, 11h39

BANGKOK (AFP)

photo

An anti-coup protestor takes away an injured comrade during a fight with police near the house of Prem Tinasulanond, the King’s top adviser, in Bangkok, 22 July 2007. Nine anti-coup protest leaders have been detained over clashes with police that left more than 100 injured last weekend, as the government threatened a state of emergency if more violence erupts.
(AFP/File)

Nine anti-coup protest leaders were detained Thursday over clashes with police that left more than 100 injured last weekend, as the government threatened a state of emergency if more violence erupts.

The arrests came as the army-installed government prepared to hold a referendum on August 19 to approve a new constitution, in what the junta says will be a first step toward restoring democracy and legitimising their coup.

The nine protest leaders were detained for further questioning after appearing at a criminal court to hear the charges against them, police said.

“They were charged with illegal assembly and inciting violence, which they all denied,” said Bangkok deputy police chief Jet Mongkonhatti.

Four of the men detained were allies of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in the bloodless coup last September, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship protest group said in a statement.

Another five were pro-democracy activists who had joined forces with Thaksin’s allies to call on the junta to step down and to campaign against the military-backed constitution, the statement said.

The clashes broke out late Sunday when some 5,000 protesters tried to march from the Sanam Luang plaza in central Bangkok to the home of the top adviser of Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Police blocked the marchers, who began throwing stones and sticks. Riot police responded with teargas and batons to break up the crowd.

The incident was the first violence since the coup, and Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas warned the government would not allow a repeat of the clashes.

“If police cannot control the situation, the army will invoke the law — like an emergency decree. The army always has forces standing by,” he told the army-installed parliament.

Boonrawd urged the protesters to remain peaceful, saying: “The government does not want to have to use strong measures.”

The warning came as the government was launching its campaign to urge voters to approve the constitution, in the military’s first test at the ballot box since their takeover.

The military says the new charter will clear the way for elections by the end of the year, but opponents fear it will provide ways for the army to maintain an influence over government through powerful appointees.

Parliament on Wednesday approved a law that would make it a crime to obstruct the referendum.

Anyone convicted of misleading the public about the referendum, blocking voters from the polls, or damaging the ballot papers could face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum 200,000-baht (5,900-dollar) fine, according to the Election Commission.

Commission spokesman Ruangroj Chumsueb said people simply campaigning for voters to reject the proposed charter would not be punished under the law.

“People have the right to express their opinion, but those who create disturbances at referendum voting stations could face penalties,” he told AFP.

Anti-coup protesters have been holding rallies every night since early June, but they have failed to gain traction and normally attract only a few thousand people.

On Thursday about 7,000 farmers also took to the streets to demand that the government grant them debt relief, but police said their protest unfolded peacefully.

 

9 leaders of Bangkok anti-coup demonstration detained for instigating disturbance

www.chinaview.cn 2007-07-26 17:52:27

    BANGKOK, July 26 (Xinhua) — Nine leaders of an anti-coup demonstration which turned violent last Sunday in downtown Bangkok were detained after they reported to the court Thursday morning on charges of instigating disturbance.

    The nine protest organizers acknowledged charges at the Criminal Court Thursday morning in connection with the clash of anti-coup demonstrators with police at the residence of Privy Council president and former premier Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda Sundaynight, according to the Thai News Agency.

    The demonstrators, organized by the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship, accused Prem, a leading statesman of the country, of being behind the Sept. 19 coup ousting then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, founder and former leader of the Thai Rak Thai party.

    The nine, including former key members of the now-defunct former ruling Thai Rak Thai Party Veera Musigapong, Jatuporn Phromphan, Jakraphob Penkair and Natawut Saikua, were charged withholding an illegal gathering of more than 10 persons which led to disturbances in the capital, instigating unrest and obstructing police.

    The nine denied all the charges against them.

    The court ordered them to report to hear the charges after Bangkok Deputy Police Chief Pol. Maj-Gen. Jate Mongkholhatthee, the chief investigator in charge of the case, on Tuesday applied for arrest warrants for the nine.

 

Thailand detains anti-coup protest leaders
Posted: 26 July 2007 2147 hrs


An anti-coup protester takes away an injured comrade

BANGKOK: Nine anti-coup protest leaders were detained on Thursday over clashes with police that left more than 100 injured last weekend as the government threatened a state of emergency if more violence erupts.

The arrests came as the army-installed government prepared to hold a referendum on August 19 to approve a new constitution, in what the government says will be a first step toward restoring democracy and legitimising their coup.

The nine protest leaders were detained for further questioning after appearing at a criminal court to hear the charges against them, police said.
“They were charged with illegal assembly and inciting violence, which they all denied,” said Bangkok deputy police chief Jet Mongkonhatti.
Four of the men detained were allies of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in the bloodless coup last September, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship protest group said in a statement.

Another five were pro-democracy activists who had joined forces with Thaksin’s allies to call on the military government to step down and to campaign against the military-backed constitution, the statement said.

The clashes broke out late Sunday when some 5,000 protesters tried to march from the Sanam Luang plaza in central Bangkok to the home of the top adviser of Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Police blocked the marchers, who began throwing stones and sticks. Riot police responded with teargas and batons to break up the crowd.
The incident was the first violence since the coup and Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas warned the government would not allow a repeat of the clashes.
“If police cannot control the situation, the army will invoke the law – like an emergency decree. The army always has forces standing by,” he told the army-installed parliament.

Boonrawd urged the protesters to remain peaceful, saying: “The government does not want to have to use strong measures.”
The warning came as the government was launching its campaign to urge voters to approve the constitution, in the military’s first test at the ballot box since their takeover.

The military says the new charter will clear the way for elections by the end of the year, but opponents fear it will provide ways for the army to maintain an influence over government through powerful appointees.

Parliament on Wednesday approved a law that would make it a crime to obstruct the referendum. Anyone convicted of misleading the public about the referendum, blocking voters from the polls, or damaging the ballot papers could face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum 200,000-baht (5,900-dollar) fine, according to the Election Commission.

Commission spokesman Ruangroj Chumsueb said people simply campaigning for voters to reject the proposed charter would not be punished under the law.
“People have the right to express their opinion, but those who create disturbances at referendum voting stations could face penalties,” he told AFP.
Anti-coup protesters have been holding rallies every night since early June, but they have failed to gain traction and normally attract only a few thousand people.
On Thursday, about 7,000 farmers also took to the streets to demand that the government grant them debt relief, but police said their protest unfolded peacefully.

– AFP/so

 BBC News

Nine detained over Thai protest

An anti-coup protester clashes with police in the Thai capital Bangkok

Protesters say police used tear gas and batons to disperse them

Nine leaders of a violent anti-government protest in Thailand last Saturday have been detained.

They were held for further questioning after appearing at a court in the capital, Bangkok, to hear police charges against them.

The nine men deny charges of illegal assembly and inciting violence.

More than 100 people were injured in clashes, as police tried to disperse thousands of protesters from outside the home of a senior official.

The protesters had accused 86-year-old Prem Tinsulanonda – the most senior adviser to the Thai king – of orchestrating last September’s military coup.

Since the takeover, which saw Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra ousted from office, there have been regular protests against military rule, but until now none have been violent.

Referendum plan

Four of the nine men who have been detained are allies of the former prime minister, the AFP news agency quoted the protest organisers as saying.

The other five are pro-democracy activists who had joined the call for an end to the army-backed government that replaced Mr Thaksin, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship said.

Several thousand demonstrators had descended on Mr Prem’s home last Saturday for what organisers said would be a peaceful rally.

However, demonstrators threw rocks and bottles as police moved in to disperse them, and police responded with teargas and water canons – leaving dozens of injured on both sides.

Six people were arrested during the incident and charged with disturbing the peace and injuring police officers.

The government is preparing to hold a nationwide referendum on a new constitution on 19 August.

If it passes, the Thai military says democratic elections could be held by the end of the year.

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