By THE NATION
They were later released on Bt20,000 bail by the Bangkok Military Court on condition that they do not leave the country, express political opinions or incite public disturbance.
The red-shirt leaders were arrested at the Imperial Lat Phrao department store on June 5 when they gathered with followers of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) for the opening of the centre.
Police accused them of violating a post-coup ban imposed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on any political gathering of five people or more.
Eighteen UDD leaders were present in court yesterday to hear the formal charge against them. They included Nattawut Saikua, Thida Thawornseth, Weng Tojirakarn, Veerakan Musigapong, Yongyuth Tiyapairat and Korkaew Pikulthong.
UDD chairman Jatuporn Prompan, one of the 19 defendants, was not present in court yesterday. He has been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison after a court earlier found that he broke conditions for his temporary release.
About 50 followers of the red-shirt movement gathered at the court yesterday to show support for the UDD leaders.
Winyat Chatmoontree, a lawyer for the red-shirt leaders, said yesterday that the defendants attempted to convince the court that the event on June 5 did not violate the ban on political gatherings.
“We acted openly and in good faith toward the country. The event was not of a political nature,” Winyat said.