Protesters vow to stay 3 days at Govt House to oust Prayut

‘Pai Dao Din’ detained for further investigation

Protesters seize the area outside Government House on Wednesday in a bid to oust Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Protesters declared their intention to stay camped outside Government House for at least three days to put pressure on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down, as yellow-shirted counter-demonstrators ended their show of support for the monarchy.

Aside from ousting the former coup leader from the premier’s post, “Khana Ratsadorn” (the People’s Group), — formerly known as the Free People movement — are also demanding that the constitution be rewritten and the monarchy reformed. 

“We have reached our destination,” leader Arnon Nampha declared after the demonstrators arrived at the prime minister’s office, about four hours after starting their march from the Democracy Monument at 2.40pm.

Protest leaders said they will rally outside Government House for at least three days in their bid to force Gen Prayut to resign.

The rally has largely been peaceful so far, with only minor confrontations with police and a few of the yellow-shirted pro-monarchists, who according to some reports were bussed in by authorities. 

The royalists lined up along Ratchadamneon Avenue to show their support for His Majesty the King as his royal motorcade moved from Dusit Palace to the Grand Palace for a religious function.

Suwit Thongprasert, formerly known as Phra Buddha Isara, announced that the yellow-shirted group would disperse after the King returned to the palace.

The prime minister was in Pathum Thani to chair volunteer activities initiated by His Majesty, and his office will be closed on Thursday.

Meanwhile, political activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatararaksa was detained along with 20 others during Tuesday’s anti-government protest at the Democracy Monument. The veteran dissident will continue to be held in custody after the Criminal Court on Wednesday approved a police request to further detain him for 12 days while investigating his alleged misconduct.

Mr Jatupat is facing 12 charges in connection with Tuesday’s protest, while 19 others are facing 10 charges, said Kritsadang Nutcharat, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

The activist was brought from the headquarters of the Border Patrol Police Region 1 in Pathum Thani, where he was detained the previous night, to the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road on Wednesday.

One protester is yet to be charged because police first need to complete a process required under the Youth Act in dealing with an underaged criminal suspect, said the lawyer.

The two additional charges Mr Jatupat is facing are leading or ordering a gathering of more than 10 people that caused public unrest, and jointly organising a public gathering without securing permission from authorities as required under the public gathering law, said the lawyer.

The other ten charges levelled at Mr Jatupat and the other 19 protesters are: colluding to gather in a group of more than 10 people, colluding to cause public unrest, colluding to organise an activity that risks spreading a communicable disease, colluding to obstruct public thoroughfares, colluding to obstruct traffic, violating the law on public cleanliness, colluding to physically assault others, colluding to damage property, resisting orders by security authorities, and using loudspeakers without permission.

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