Local news

Protesters fling paint, eggs at court to demand activist’s release

By AFP, published by Channel NewsAsia

HUNDREDS of protesters hurled red paint, tomatoes and eggs at a Bangkok court today (May 2), demanding the release of all political detainees, including an activist who was hospitalised after a hunger strike.

The student activist Parit Chiwarak – widely known by his nickname “Penguin” – has been held on remand since being charged in February under Thailand’s strict royal defamation laws. He has been denied bail repeatedly.

Today, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Bangkok’s Criminal Court to demand Penguin’s release and that of other detained activists involved in the movement.

Demonstrators chanted “release the political prisoners” and waved a three-finger salute – a symbol of resistance for the opposition movement.

They sloshed red paint all over the court’s entrance, where they had plastered posters of the judge who protesters believed had denied Penguin’s bail.

“We are here today to show that there is injustice,” shouted a protest leader.

Protesters also hurled eggs and tomatoes into the compound as police stood guard with plastic riot shields.

By around 6pm, the group dispersed.

Penguin has lost more than 12kg since he began a hunger strike on March 16, and officials transferred him to hospital on Friday amid concerns his health was deteriorating.

Student-led demonstrations in Bangkok last year drew tens of thousands at their peak, but the movement has petered out this year amid increasing restrictions on public gatherings due to rising Covid-19 cases.

At least 70 activists from the movement are currently facing royal defamation charges in Thailand.

Top: Protesters sloshed red paint all over the court’s entrance. Photo: AFP/Jack Taylor, published by CNA

Home Page: A protester prepares to throw a water balloon at the court. Photo: AFP/Jack Taylor, published by CNA

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