Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut issues lese majeste warning

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has reiterated that the lese majeste law is among “all laws and articles” that the government will enforce against critics and protesters.

Gen. Prayut said: “It is among all those laws. Do you understand the term all laws?”, when reporters asked at the Government House whether Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, would also be enforced.

“The government must take swift action because many people have voiced opinions on the issue. People nationwide cannot accept this,” the Prime Minister said, referring to cases involving the insulting of the monarchy.

Gen. Prayut gave his warning after street rallies by pro-democracy protesters demanding his removal and reform of the monarchy.

He also brushed aside a claim made on Facebook by protest leader Arnon Nampa that he might resign by Wednesday, when the protest movement plans another rally in front of the Crown Property Bureau.

“The person who made such a claim was ill-informed. How can we trust him?” Gen Prayut said.

Meanwhile, Bangkok police are to press charges against 31 demonstrators over this week’s anti-government rallies outside parliament and the police headquarters.

A police spokesman said on Friday that no decision had been made yet on whether those charges would include breaches of Section 112.

Police Maj Gen PiyaTawichai said 14 people had been identified as committing offences near parliament in Dusit district on Tuesday, and 17 others during the protest outside the Royal Thai Police Headquarters in Pathumwan district on Wednesday.

They were from both sides, from a royalist group and from the anti-government side and police would start calling them in to acknowledge charges next week, he said.

The charges would include attempted murder, causing damage to government property, demonstrating without prior permission, assembling to create disorder, physical assault and violation of cleanliness and land traffic laws.

Maj Gen Piya said three people who were shot during the clashes between rival groups of demonstrators near parliament had been questioned.

One was shot at the Bang Pho intersection and two at Kiakkai intersection.

He also said police had yet to decide on the criteria to be imposed when considering breaches of the lese majeste law. (Source: Bangkok Post)

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