Crowd gathers at Thammasat and prison
to support 14 embattled anti-junta activists

29 June 2015

Pro-democracy activists and people from all walks of life gathered at Thammasat University and Bangkok Remand Prison on Sunday to give moral support for 14 embattled anti-junta activists under custody.

At noon on Sunday, many students from Liberal League of Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD), activists, academics and others gathered in front of the Tha Prachan Campus of Thammasat University to attached placards with messages to support the 14 student activists on the campus’ wall.

One of the placards is a message from Kasian Techapeera, a renowned anti-junta political scientist of Thammasat and Chulalongkorn University, which reads ‘I’m proud to be your lecturer’.

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Kasian Techapeera's message to support the student activists under custody

Some other placards attached to the campus’ wall read ‘release the 14 student activists unconditionally’, ‘people who are behind this [anti-junta activities] is nobody, but ordinary people who love democracy’, ‘dictatorship will be ruined and democracy will triumph’.

At 8 pm on the same day, around 30 people some of which are activists from Neo-Democracy Group, an anti-junta group, gathered in front of Bangkok Remand Prison, where the student activists are detained and lit up candles to symbolically show support for the student activists.

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They also released white balloons to show their moral support
and read out a statement to denounce the Thai junta’s measure to arrested the student activists.

The group statement pointed out that despite the fact that all the 14 student activists always made it clear that they would not escape, the Bangkok’s Military Court detained them and denied their lawyer’s objection to the custody order.

The group added that the military court’s decision to detain the student activists was also read at an unusual hour on Friday night, which is not the normal working hours of the court.

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A member of the Neo Democracy Group reads out the statement to denounce the Thai junta's arrest of the student activists

“This sort of behavior [of the authorities] shows that the state officials are abusing the justice system to arrest and prosecute those who have different political stands,”

said the group’s statement.

On Friday night, the Bangkok Military Court granted custody permission to detain 14 student activists who are accused of violating the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 7/2014, which prohibits any political gathering of more than five persons for holding symbolic events to commemorate the 2014 coup d’état on 22 May.

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In addition, the 14 are also charged under Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law, for holding anti-junta political activities. If found guilty they could face up to seven years of imprisonment.

On Saturday, Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, the Thai Army Chief, said that the arrest of the 14 student activists was necessary to prevent further political conflicts and made ambiguous claim that the authorities now know who are behind the anti-junta activities.

The army chief also threatened to use harsh measures against people who support the student activists.

Seven of the 14 are student activists from the Dao Din Group, a student activist group based in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. The rest are student activists from Thai Student Centre for Democracy (TSCD) based in Bangkok.