February 9, 2018 / 11:53 AM / 2 months ago

Thailand issues arrest warrants against four activists, one caught

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai court issued arrest warrants for four pro-democracy activists on Friday for staging a public protest amid growing pressure on the junta to hold elections as promised, police said.

Rangsiman Rome, Sirawich Seritiwat, Ekachai Hongkangwan and Anond Nampa were charged with illegal assembly along with 35 other activists who staged a demonstration last month in central Bangkok to protest against a delay to a general election scheduled to take place in November.

The 35 reported to police in Bangkok on Thursday and were later released the same day. The other four did not report to police. They face additional charges of breaking a junta order that bans public gatherings and with inciting unrest.

Police arrested Ekachai Hongkangwan at his Bangkok home on Saturday. The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) group said in a statement Ekachai was taken away by four plainclothes police officers.

The group said a pro-democracy protest would be held in Bangkok’s historic quarter later on Saturday.

“This evening at 16:00 hrs there is an appointment to meet ... at Democracy Monument organised by the group Revive Democracy and Startup People,” it said.

Police confirmed that Ekachai had been arrested.

“He handed himself over to police at 9:00 a.m,” said Pasakorn Rattanapanda, an officer in charge of the case.

Kritsadang Nutcharus, a lawyer for TLHR, told Reuters he had not been notified about the warrants.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat Panu Wongcha-um; Additional reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Nick Macfie and Paul Tait

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