THE APPEALS Court this morning (Nov. 2) upheld a verdict to dismiss a case against Mr. Sondhit Limthongkul, co-founder of now defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), commonly known as Yellow Shirts, and 20 other members on charges of using force and violence to cause chaos and revolt by besieging and obstructing Parliament to pressure former prime minister Samak Sundaravej to resign and obstructing a parliamentary meeting to prevent his replacement, prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, from announcing his policy statement in 2008, Naewna newspaper said.
The Appeals Court ruled that their assembly was peaceful without any weapons used and was in keeping with the principles of non-violence while also being within their rights under the 2007 Constitution.
The prosecutor had said that from May 25 to October 7, 2008 the defendants persuaded people to rally at the Democracy Monument and create chaos to pressure Samak to resign and prevent Somchai from announcing his policy statement thus should be punished according to Sections 116,215,216,309,310 of the Criminal Court.
The defendants denied the charges.
On March 4, 2019 the Criminal Court dismissed this case ruling that the gatherings by the defendants were a symbolic display with reasonable speeches given and the participants told not to cause violence with this deemed as peaceful protests according to the Section 63 of the Constitution.
Though there were some traffic obstructions, this is normal in gathering to express opinion in accordance with their rights. The demonstrations during Oct. 5-7, 2008 did not appear to be violent nor had anyone violated the law or caused property damage, the court ruled.
1) Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul;
2) Mr. Phiphob Thongchai;
3) Mr. Somkiat Phongpaiboon (deceased);
4) Mrs. Maleerat Kaewka;
5) Mr. Praphan Khunmee;
6) Mr. Somsak Kosaisuk;
7) Mr. Suriyasai Katasila;
8) Mr. Amorn Amornrattananon;
9) Mr. Samran Rodphet
10) Mr. Sirichai Mai-ngam;
11) Mr. Sawit Kaewwan;
12) Mr. Phichit Chaiyamongkol;
13) Mr. Amnat Phalamy;
14) Mr. Kittichai Saisa-at;
15) Mr. Prayut Weerakitti;
16) Mr. Suchart Srisang;
17) Mr. Somboon Thongburan;
18) Mr. Suphaphol Iammethawee;
18) Miss Anchalee Paireerak;
20) Mr. Pichet Patthanachot;
21) Mr. Weera Somkhawmkid.
According to Wikipedia, in May 2008, PAD again began street protests and in August seized Government House to pressure Samak’s coalition government to resign. PAD supporters also seized airports in Phuket, Krabi, and Hat Yai and blocked major roads and highways.
Sympathetic state-enterprise labour unions assisted by stopping train services across the kingdom and threatened to shut off electricity and water services to non-PAD supporters. Armed PAD forces “Srivichai Warriors” seized a government television broadcaster as well as several government ministries.Violence between PAD supporters and anti-PAD protesters left dozens injured and one PAD protester dead. Wealthy PAD supporters threatened a bank run that could destabilise the Thai financial system if the Samak government did not resign.
PAD’s protests escalated after the Constitutional Court found Samak guilty of violating a law which prohibits government ministers from receiving a salary from another job. PAD forces surrounded Parliament and used razor wire barricades to prevent the legislature from meeting to hear Samak’s replacement, Thaksin’s brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat, formally announce his policies.
Police used force to disperse the protesters, resulting in hundreds of serious injuries and the death of a young woman, all caused by the explosions of Chinese-made tear gas grenades, which the poorly trained police fired directly at the protesters.
In November, the PAD blockaded Parliament prior to a crucial legislative session, used hijacked public buses to take control of the government’s provisional offices at Don Mueang International Airport, and seized control of Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The PAD also threatened to lay siege to the seaports of the Eastern Seaboard.
The PAD’s sieges and protests ended after the Constitutional Court dissolved the PPP, banned its leaders from politics, and Army Commander Anuphong Phaochinda pressured many PPP MPs to defect to the Democrat Party and elect Abhisit Vejjajiva as Premier.PAD activist Kasit Piromya was appointed Foreign Minister in the new government.
Above and Front Page: Composite photo and inserted images show Yellow Shirt demonstrators and their leaders in 2008. All photos: Matichon