Undeterred, protest leaders call for rally at Rajprasong
Protest leaders have called for another rally at Rajprasong intersection in the heart of Bangkok this evening in defiance of the state of emergency which bans public gathering of five people or more.
In a statement issued this morning, the so-called Ratsadorn Group condemned the state of emergency and the dispersal of the rally at the Government House.
Student activist Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul read out the statement in a Facebook post shortly before she was arrested. She is among several key protest leaders who have been taken into police custody since early this morning.
Deputy police spokesman Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen told a news conference that at least 20 people are now under police custody. He said the protest leaders are being detained at the headquarters of the Region One Patrol Police in Pathum Thani but did not say what charges they are facing.
He also warned people against joining the rally planned for Rajprasong this evening.
The statement of Ratsadorn Party described the state of emergency as a crackdown on the democratic process and is pitting the Monarchy against the people. The statement referred to the declaration of the state of emergency which cited the blocking of the Royal motorcade by some of the protesters yesterday as one of the justifications for the draconian legal measure.
But shortly after reading out the statement, a team of policemen took Panussaya into custody.
Meanwhile, Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit, leader of the Kao Na (Progresstive) group, claimed that the anti-government protest had been peaceful and the imposition of the state of emergency was not warranted.
“There is no legitimacy for the state of emergency and for the dispersal of the rally,” he said.
Thanathorn, who has been openly supportive of the anti-government protest, called for an immediate release of all protesters taken into custody.
He also demanded an end to the state of emergency and called on the government to respond to the demand of the protesters who want Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign and a new constitution to be adopted.
He said the government must end what he described as continuing suppression of the people “before the situation worsens to a breaking point.”