News

Thai activists arrested over royal motorcade protest

By AFP

February 13, 2024 06:55 PM


Thai police on Tuesday arrested two activists on sedition charges after they reportedly tried to interfere with a royal motorcade in the latest challenge to the kingdom's monarchy.

Tantawan Tuatulanon and Nattanon Chaimahabutr were held over the February 4 incident in which local media said they tried to interrupt the convey of the king's sister Princess Sirindhorn by honking their car horn and cutting into its lane.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), a legal rights group, said the pair also face charges under the Computer Crimes Act.

"There are other minor charges such as disturbing the authorities and the breaking of some traffic law," their lawyer Krissadang Nutcharas told AFP.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn is officially a revered, semi-divine figure in Thai society and is protected by some of the world's strictest lese-majeste laws.

But long-held taboos around discussing the royal family were undermined by a youth-led protest movement that erupted in 2020.

Tantawan, 22, already faced lese-majeste charges and went on hunger strike alongside another activist for 50 days last year urging political parties to support abolishing the law.

Legal observers and rights campaigners say the royal defamation legislation and other laws -- including the Computer Crimes Act -- are interpreted so broadly that they have become a tool to target dissent.

TLHR says more than 250 people have faced royal insult charges in the wake of the 2020 demonstrations, including protest leaders and at least one elected MP.

The Constitutional Court dealt a major blow to reformers last month when it ruled that the Move Forward Party's (MFP) election pledge to change the lese-majeste was unlawful.

MFP won most seats in last May's election but was blocked from forming a government by conservative forces, ostensibly because of its wish to reform lese-majeste.


AFP


Most Read

  1. Stormy rain warning: Holiday in Sindh schools tomorrow Stormy rain warning: Holiday in Sindh schools tomorrow
  2. PML-N candidate declared winner in NA-154 Lodhran vote recount PML-N candidate declared winner in NA-154 Lodhran vote recount
  3. Taxila police book ASI torture victim woman in theft case Taxila police book ASI torture victim woman in theft case
  4. Fire breaks out at Peshawar scrap warehouse Fire breaks out at Peshawar scrap warehouse
  5. Fire breaks out in PACE shopping mall in Lahore Fire breaks out in PACE shopping mall in Lahore
  6. COAS Gen Asim lauds ASP Shehrbano’s selfless devotion to duty COAS Gen Asim lauds ASP Shehrbano’s selfless devotion to duty

Opinion

  1. Literate the Religious Illiterate
    Literate the Religious Illiterate

    By Dr Asif Channer

  2. THE SECRET WAR: Public Interest Vs Official Secrets Act 1923
    THE SECRET WAR: Public Interest Vs Official Secrets Act 1923

    By Syed Aun Mohammed Bokhari

  3. Political Opportunism and the 18th Constitutional Amendment
    Political Opportunism and the 18th Constitutional Amendment

    By Muhammad Asad Ayaz

  4. To Know and Not to Know
    To Know and Not to Know

    By Abdullah Bin Tahir

  5. Gender equality: A pre-requisite for a balanced society
    Gender equality: A pre-requisite for a balanced society

    By Mehak Sabir