11 activists have been charged with violations of the Emergency Decree for joining a protest organized by the People’s Movement for Just Society (P-Move), which addressed land rights and community rights.
Protesters were blocked by crowd control police and a row of shipping containers while trying to march to Government House on 1 February 2022
Activist Pachara Kamchamnan, a member of the Save Bang Kloi Coalition, said that he received a summons from Nang Loeng Police Station on a charge of violating the Emergency Decree and must report to the police station on 22 February 2022. He said that the charge is likely related to the P-Move protest, during which protesters occupied the sidewalk opposite the UN headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue from 20 January 2022 before marching to Government House. They then continue to occupy the Nang Loeng Intersection until 3 February 2022, when they ended their protest after their demands were answered by the government.
The Save Bang Kloi Coalition, an indigenous rights activist network, posted on their Facebook page that no other activist has reported receiving a summons, but according to Nang Loeng Police Station, summonses have been issued for 11 people, which include both protest leaders and members of P-Move’s partner organizations.
The 11 people are:
- Chamnong Nuphan, Chair of the P-Move Executive Committee
- Phonphinan Chotwiriyanon, Northern Peasant Federation (NPF) member
- Pachara Kamchamnan, Save Bang Kloi Coaliation activist
- Chan Tonnamphet, Bang Kloi community member
- Wittawat Tepsong, activist from the Andaman Seafaring Ethnic People and a member of the Community Network for Social and Political Reform
- Nuken Inthachan, Four Regions Slum Network member
- Malai Chiangpheng, Community Network for Social and Political Reform member
- Nithip Khongthong, Four Regions Slum Network member
- Wanlop Pandee, Northern Peasant Federation (NPF) member
- Nitirat Sapsomboon, P-Move advisor
- Nueangnit Chidnok, Four Regions Slum Network member
Chan Tonnamphet is 17 years old and the only minor charged. She is a member of the Bang Kloi indigenous Karen community and came to join the protest with other members of her community, who are protesting under the name “Bang Kloi Khuen Thin” (“Bang Kloi returns home”) to demand that their community be allowed to return to their ancestral land at Chai Phaen Din village in the Kaeng Krachan forest.
Pachara said that the protest was an attempt to demand community rights and to call on the government to act on promises it gave during previous protests. However, the authorities’ attempt to block protest marches with razor wire and deployments of crowd control police against protesters, as well as filing charges against the 11 activists shows that citizens will never have rights in this political climate, since not only they are denied their rights but are also attacked by the authorities.
Meanwhile, P-Move issued a statement condemning the charges against the activists as severely unjust, and that they show the government’s insincerity. It says that those who joined the protest came from across the country despite the spread of Covid-19 to demand the rights they are entitled to, and to use legal measures against them is inhumane.
P-Move demanded that the government must lift the State of Emergency declared in March 2020 to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, and cancel the summonses, since the protest was within their constitutional rights and in line with international human rights principles.