News ID: 277246
Published: 0213 GMT November 24, 2020

Thai police to charge protest leaders with royal insult

Thai police to charge protest leaders with royal insult
A man walks next to barbed wire ahead of a mass rally to call for the ouster of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government and reforms in the monarchy at the Crown Property Bureau in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 24, 2020.

Thai police summoned seven leaders of anti-government protests to face charges of lese majeste over comments made at demonstrations that demanded reforms to the monarchy, a police source and a rights group said on Tuesday.

It will be the first time such charges have been brought under so-called lese majeste laws relating to insults to the royal family in more than two years, according to Reuters.

They can carry up to 15 years in prison.

Protests that began in July against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha have increasingly turned to demands to curb the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, breaking a longstanding taboo on criticizing the monarchy.

The police source, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the protest leaders had until November 30 to answer the summonses, which were brought over comments made at protests on September 19 and 20.

One of the seven, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, told Reuters his family had received a summons on the charges.

Others named included human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, who became the first to call for royal reforms on August 3, and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a student leader who set out 10 demands for royal reforms.



Resource: Reuters
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