Nine anti-coup protesters were reportedly arrested on Sunday in northern Chiang Rai and in Chiang Mai province on Sunday (1 from Chiang Mai and 8 from Chiang Rai) while seven anti-coup protesters were arrested in Chiang Mai on Saturday alone.
About 30-50 protesters gathered at various spots in Chiang Mai on Sunday to show their opposition to the coup amid tight security by the military, while in Chiang Rai, protesters defied the military junta twice at McDonald’s.
In Chiang Mai, the military has used barbed wire fences to surround the gates of the historic city wall where anti-coup protesters have held protests. The military also set up several checkpoints around the city’s main canal.
About 11.30 a.m Sunday, the protesters started their protest by dividing themselves into small groups to hold protests at different spots, including the consulates of the US, China and Japan, before they gathered again at 1 p.m at the Kruba Srivichai Monument. A company of military officers followed them from place to place. There were no reports of clashes.
At 6.45 p.m, the protesters gathered in front of the IT Square shopping centre, not far from the Chang Phuak gate of the historic city wall where the military were deployed. With ‘X’ taped over their lips, they showed placards demonstrating their demands for freedom of expression and their opposition to the coup.
The protesters gathered for only 15 minutes and dispersed at 7 p.m when the military walked over to them. The military later walked into an S&P restaurant, not far from the scene, and arrested “Dang Kaokao,” a local red-shirt leader, who had earlier joined the protest and then escaped to the restaurant.
In Chiang Rai, as Bangkokians held an anti-coup gathering at McDonald’s Ratchaprasong branch, Chiang Rai protesters held a similar activity at McDonald’s Central Plaza Chiang Rai branch.
The protesters gathered at the fast food restaurant, wore masks with ‘X’ and showed anti-coup placards. About 30 minutes, later the military and police officers were deployed to the McDonald’s, forcing the protesters to stop the activity.
Four protesters were reportedly arrested because they resisted the military orders. The four are Songsri Komkam, a member of Chiang Rai Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO), Songsri’s husband, Songtham Kid-arn, a local red-shirt leader and another unidentified man.
At 7pm anti-coup protesters gathered at Chiang Rai McDonald’s again. Four more protesters, including local red-shirt leader “Jeab Maelao” were arrested.
Military raided community radio stations and arrested red leaders
Nine local red-shirt leaders were detained by the military after the military raided their houses and the offices of red-shirt community radio stations. The first raid was reported on May 22 at night. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
Six of them are affiliated with the Chiang Mai United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). Two are leaders of the Phang Red Shirts in Chiang Mai’s Phang district. One is from an independent red-shirt faction who owns a community radio station, according to a source who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.
The six Chiang Mai UDD leaders are: Pichit Tamoon, Siwan Janpong, Ongart Tantanasin, Supon Foomooncharoen, Sucheera Raksapakdee, Rawrawee Panrawee. The Phang Red leaders are Sawang Wongwilas, Sudarat Promkaew. The independent red leader is Apichat Insorn, aka “DJ Oan.”
The military raided the office of the red-shirt “We love Phang, Mae Ai, Chai Prakan Club” community radio station on the morning of May 23. There was a confrontation between the military and the villagers who tried to protect the station before Sawang Wongwilas, an anchor of the station, was arrested and taken by the military, according to the source.
The military reportedly raided the house of former ministerial advisor to the Pheua Thai government, Thanes Charoenmuang, three times -- twice on May 22 and in the early morning of May 23, but he was not at the house. Thanes, a former student activist, is a professor at Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Political Science and former advisor to education ministers during the Pheua Thai government.
In Chiang Rai, ASTV-Manager online reported that at least five local red-shirt leaders were summoned to meet the military. Red-shirt community radio stations were also raided.