Activists and protesters gathered in front of the Bangkok Remand Prison on Sunday evening (26 December) to celebrate student activist Panupong Jadnok’s birthday, after he was denied bail along with 3 other activists last Friday (24 December).
Protesters gathering in front of the Bangkok Remand Prison
Panupong, along with activists Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, and Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, were denied bail by the Criminal Court last Friday (24 December), on the grounds that they are likely to repeat their offences, although during their hearing on 17 December 2021 thye told the court that they are willing to not engage in any activities damaging to the monarchy, take part in protests causing public disorder, flee the country, or violate Court-mandated travel restrictions. They also said that they are willing to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and not leave their residences without court permission unless to attend class, take exams, seek medical treatment, or contact a court or police station.
Parit, Panupong, Anon, and Jatupat are being detained pending trial on royal defamation charges resulting from their participation in pro-democracy protests. Parit, Jatupat, and Anon have been imprisoned since 9 August 2021, while Panupong has been imprisoned since 23 September 20201.
At least 16 other people are also being detained pending trial on charges relating to their participation in pro-democracy protests and confrontations with the police over the past year.
On Sunday evening (26 December), the activist group Thalufah organized an event in front of the Bangkok Remand Prison to celebrate Panupong’s birthday. During the event, the gates to the prison were blocked with razor wire and metal barricades. The activists hung pictures of detained activists around the area and dispalyed a banner saying “Free our friends for New Year” on a traffic island.
A Thalufah activist gave a speech saying that they are holding a birthday party for Panupong because his detention means that he cannot celebrate with his family, and that even though freedom of assembly is enshrined in the constitution, protesters have faced violence and legal prosecution. They also said that there will be a demonstration on New Year’s Eve, from 17.00 on 31 December 2021 to 5.00 on 1 January 2022.
The event also featured musical performances and other speeches. At 19.40, Panupong’s mother Yupin Maneewong came onstage with Parit’s and Anon’s mothers to sing Happy Birthday for her son and blow out candles on a birthday cake.