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Police have issued arrest warrants for three Triumph labour union leaders who led members on a protest that blocked roads at Government House and Parliament. 

INN reported on 28 Aug that according to Metropolitan Police Commander Pol Lt Gen Worapong Chewpreecha, arrest warrants were issued for Sunthorn Bunyod, 50, Bunrod Saiwong, 33, and Jitra Kotchadej, 34, on charges of gathering in a group of 10 people or more, leading or ordering people to cause unrest, and ignoring police orders.

On 27 Aug, the three leaders led 300-400 union members to petition the Prime Minister to help in their dispute with their employer, Triumph, which had laid off 1,959 workers.

The PM did not show up to meet them as he was engaged with other duties.  The protesters were dissatisfied with this and blocked the road in front of Government House.  Learning that the PM was attending a meeting at Parliament, the protesters went to block the road there as well, causing trouble for the public, the Police Commander said.

Jitra Kotchadej, advisor to the Triumph Labour Union, told Prachatai that she had yet to receive the arrest warrant or be notified by the police.  The union will meet and discuss on what to do.

Jitra questioned why workers who come out to protect their own rights have to face such severe charges.

Police have charged them under Criminal Code Article 215 for leading or ordering public unrest which carries a maximum of 5 years in prison or a 10,000 baht fine or both, and Article 216 for ignoring police orders to stop the unrest, which carries a maximum of 3 years in prison or a 6,000 baht fine, or both.      

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