Conceding to pressure from the authorities, the former Prime Minister has warned her supporters against coming to court tomorrow when her verdict will be announced, fearing the risk of violence by a ‘third party’.
On 24 August 2017, former PM Yingluck Shinawatra posted on her Facebook page that her supporters should stay at home when the verdict on the Rice Pledging Scheme case is read in order to avoid possible violence as the security forces have repeatedly warned.
“I recognize the concern and kindness of the people who aware of the distress and difficulty I’m facing. But I think that if you travel to the court to give me moral support this time, we will be unable to see each other’s faces or express our feelings to each other like every previous time because the security forces are regulating those who come to the court differently from every other time,” read Yingluck’s post.
She suggests that her supporters watch the judgement from home to avoid the risk of violence from a so-called ‘third party’ and those who have bad intentions.
This Friday, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions will read the verdict on Yingluck in the Rice Pledging Scheme case. If found guilty, she will have to pay 35 billion baht in damages, equal to 20 per cent of the estimated total loss arising from the policy.
It is strongly expected that a number of people will go to the court tomorrow to show Yingluck support and solidarity as they have always done whenever Yingluck was summoned to attend the trial.
Citing the fear of disorder and violence, however, the junta is making many attempts to block supporters from coming to the court.
“You (media) have to tell people that they don’t have to come. Just watch it from home. There’s no point in coming,” said the junta head.
As 25 August approaches, the junta has become more intimidating. During the past week, security officers have visited people in various provinces, especially in the north and northeast where Yingluck’s popularity is relatively high.
For example, soldiers visited a village in Lamphun
and asked people whether they were going to the court to support Yingluck. They also tried to convince the villagers to stay home and watch the judgement through the media, reasoning that traveling to Bangkok might cause a traffic jam.