Anti-election protesters fined 96 million baht for 2014 unrest

Co-leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), an anti-election movement, will pay nearly 96 million baht in compensation for damage caused during unrest in 2014.
 
On 31 January 2017, the Civil Court of Justice ruled that five leaders of the PDRC were guilty of trespassing on the offices of both the Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT), during the movement’s ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ in 2014. The offices are located on land rented from the Energy Complex Company, the case’s plaintiff.
 
The defendants are Itboon Onwongsa, Totsaphon Keawthima, Rawi Matchamadon, Somkiat Pongpaiboon and Thawatchai Promchan. The court ruled that the protest led by the defendants damaged the plaintiff’s property and income. 
 
The court ordered the five to pay 95,923,547.84 baht in compensation to the Energy Complex Company. 
 
In 2014, as part of broader protests against the then government of Yingluck Shinawatra, PDRC protesters occupied the Energy Ministry and PTT offices. The protesters demanded that the PTT and the Ministry immediately drop the price of gasoline by five baht per litre and cease increasing the price of natural gas. 
 
Protesters occupied the offices from 13 January until police reclaimed the area on 18 February. Protests by the PDRC eventually contributed to the removal of the Yingluck government by a Constitutional Court ruling in May 2014. 
 
Despite this recent fine, Thailand’s courts have been accused of double standards due to the rarity with which PDRC members are convicted, comparing to members of the anti-establishment United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). 
 

Rawi Matchamadon, one of the defendants

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