Thai police arrest activists who took part in anti-government, anti-monarchy protests

Thai police arrested activists involved in recent anti-government protests.

Among the nine was lawyer Anon Nampa, who was charged over a Harry Potter-themed protest in Bangkok at which he called for reform of the monarchy.

Mr Anon, 36, was the first to openly break the taboo at the protest, which took place earlier this month.

Among the others detained after Mr Anon were activists Baramee Chairat, Suwanna Tarnlek and Korakot Saengyenpanm, and two popular rappers: Dechatorn Bamroongmuang, from the group Rap for Democracy; and Thanayut Na Ayutthaya, better known as Elevenfinger, both of whom performed on stage at a July protest at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.

The activists were charged with sedition and could face prison sentences of up to seven years. All were later released on bail. Activists said they had seen a police list of 20 more facing possible arrest in the near future.

Anti-government anti-monarchy protests:

Anti-government demonstrations began early this month at the Thammasat University on the outskirts of Bangkok

What started as a students movement has bubbled into a bigger agitation with thousands of citizens taking part.

Initailly, students demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first seized power in a 2014 coup. The also demand greater democracy and less power for the monarchy.

Some groups have also demanded the government rewrite the constitution by the end of September to disband the military-appointed Senate and change election laws to make them more democratic, after which the government would resign and hold a new vote.

Other demands include removing a provision preventing people from bringing lawsuits against the monarchy, separating the monarch’s properties from the Crown Property Bureau, aligning the budget for the monarchy with economic conditions, banning the monarch from expressing political opinions and prohibiting the monarchy from endorsing any coups.