Thailand

Activist Arrested Hours After Prayut Urged Compromise

activist-arrested-hours-after-prayut-urged-compromise
Pasarawalee “Mind” Thanakitwibulpol holds up the three-finger salute at the Pathumwan Circuit Court on Oct. 22, 2020.

BANGKOK — A march to Government House on Wednesday night ended with an arrest of a pro-democracy activist, just hours after PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said on a live address that everyone should “take a step back” from the brinks. 

Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon, 25, was arrested at a cafe near Victory Monument while she was on the way from a protest close to PM’s office, fellow activists said. Police said there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest. Patsaravalee was released on Thursday morning. 

“This arrest does not make me afraid. This is an unlawful arrest,” Patsaravalee said as she was being taken away by police. “I know this is the government’s game.” 

The arrest was made by Police Lt. Col. Suriyasak Jirawat, who said Patsaravalee was wanted with 11 other suspects for leading a protest on Oct. 15 at the Ratchaprasong Intersection. She was charged with violating the emergency decree. 

When reached for comment on Thursday, Lt. Col. Suriyasak said he does not know if the 11 others have been arrested yet. 

Patsaravalee was released without having to post for bail, since the Pathumwan Circuit Court said she was a student studying for her finals and therefore is not considered a flight risk. 

Prior to her arrest, Patsaravalee was one of the activists who marched to Government House from the Victory Monument in a bid to demand PM Prayut’s resignation. The crowd dispersed without incidents after submitting an ultimatum that called upon Gen. Prayut to resign within three days, or face another round of protests. 

In a speech broadcast live on TV Thursday night, Prayut said the government is willing to make a compromise, but added that the protests should stop and let the Parliament debate their grievances.

“The only way to a lasting solution for all sides that is fair for those on the streets as well as for the many millions who choose not to go on the streets is to discuss and resolve these differences through the parliamentary process,” he said. 

But Pannika Wanich, a co-leader of the opposition group called Progresive Movement, said an arrest of a student activist just after Prayut’s speech showed the government was being insincere.  

“I thought you said we should take a step back and discuss in the Parliament instead. The PM’s words are just empty mouth air,” Panniwa tweeted. “You are stepping into and infringing on citizens’ rights.”

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