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Police released anti-junta activists without charges after detaining them for gathering in support for a detained Pheu Thai Party politician.

At 8:30 pm on Tuesday, 19 April 2016, police officers of Phayathai Police Station released Anon Nampa of Resistant Citizen Group, Sirawit Serithiwat from New Democracy Movement (NDM), Aramis Akahad and Wannakit Chatsuwan, four well known anti-junta activists.

The four were arrested at around 6:35 pm after they gathered at the Victory Monument in Bangkok in order to show support for Watana Muangsook, a politician from Pheu Thai Party who has been detained by the military since Monday.

The four were released without any charge and the police did not force them to sign any agreement upon their release.

Before they were arrested, many police officers were deployed at Victory Monument to monitor the gathering. There were no military officers in uniform on site. 

During the gathering, a woman shouted that she did not like the activity, saying that the four activists were disrupting peace and inciting conflict. However, many people at the gathering venue showed support for the activists by raising the three-fingers salute, a sign of defiance against the military regime.

While the four were detained in Phayathai Police Station, a large crowd gathered in front of the station to demand their immediate release.

People were lighting up candles, singing and shouting “release our friends” in front of the Police Station. The crowd also denounced the draft constitution written by the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) by organising a stimulation of the public referendum on the draft.

Before the gathering Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the Deputy junta head and Defence Minister, yesterday told media that the gathering in support for Watana cannot be held.

Under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 3/2015, political gathering of five or more persons is not permitted. However, the four were arrested despite the fact that they did not violate such order.

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