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Activist arrested before pro-election assembly

Feb 10. 2018
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By The Nation

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Activist Ekachai Hongkangwan on Saturday was arrested at his house in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district just hours before his expected attendance at a pro-election assembly due to be held at 4pm.

Arrest warrants were issued yesterday against Ekachai and three other activists, who all participated in a January 27 assembly that also called for the long-delayed election to be held.

They are charged of allegedly breaking the junta’s ban against political gatherings of five or more people, the public assembly bill and sedition. Being found guilty of the last charge could land them maximum seven-year jail terms.

Thirty-nine activists, students and journalists were charged with joining the January assembly but the other 35 have already reported to police and are currently free.

The four, including Ekachai, asked the police to postpone their reports but their calls were rejected, resulting in arrest warrants to be issued.

Ekachai stood firm that he would deny all charges, as he believed that his actions did not break the law.

The other wanted activists – Rangsiman Rome, Sirawit Serithiwat and Anon Nampa – have declared that the will join the assembly to be held at Democracy Monument on Saturday afternoon despite being pursued.

Democracy Restoration Group, one of key organisers, has told participants to bring food, water, dust masks and roses to the event.

“We don’t have funding to prepare food for everyone,” Rangsiman said. “This is low-scaled event, yet should be made loud enough to address our agenda to call for an election.”

The area around the monument, meanwhile, has been surrounded by decorative plants and portable fences put up by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Friday night. It has been suggested that filling up the area around the monument is part of police measures to cope with the assembly.

Police have said they will immediately arrest the three wanted figures once they show up.

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