date: 8/8/2023 author: Faozee Lateh

An overview of public assemblies and harassment following the gatherings January 2023


Monthly Report on Public Assembly, Prosecution, and Harassment regard to Freedom of Expression and Assembly in January 2023

Overview Situation of Public Assembly

February saw at least 78 public assemblies nationwide despite the Courts have provisionally released 15 political prisoners. The remaining detainees include Kathathon who was accused of having in possession explosive and has been remanded in custody since 11 April 2022 for more than 300 days and his right to bail has consistently denied. The Court also convicted and sentenced Theeranai and Chaiphon to imprisonment. They were members of the Thalu Gaz who were intercepted a checkpoint before the Mob29August21 protest and found to have in possession Ping Pong explosive. They were thus charged for having in possession explosive. Given their guilty plea, the Lower Court has convicted them and sentenced them to six years of imprisonment, although it was reduced to three years. Both have been remanded in custody since 15 Feb 2022 and have been denied bail.


at least ten activities at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) during which police from the Pathumwan police station came to read out an announcement for them to disband their assemblies within 30 minutes, and at least four similar activities by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration at Thammasat University, Rangsit and Tha Phra Chan Campuses.


In addition, such Stand Stop Imprisonment activities were organized at least 17 times in various regions throughout the country including the Stand Stop Tyranny was conducted at Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai for at least five times. In Phrae, the Stand Stop Imprisonment activities were organized by the Phrae Pro-democracy Alliance in Flashmob at ten spots throughout the province. In Phitsanulok, two Stand Stop Imprisonment activities were organized at least twice by the White Dove and the NU-movement. A similar activity was organized by the Ratsadon Nakhon Sawanat least once, in Lamphun at least once, in Lampang by the White Dove for the People and its alliance at least twice, in Nan by the Network of Nan Students for at least once, in Uttaradit by the Uttaradit Free Youth and Uttaradit Progressive Group at least once, in Nakhon Sawan by Ratsadon Nakhon Sawan at least once, in Phatthalung at least once and in Khon Kaen at least once.


Stand Stop Imprisonment activities asides, at least 11 other forms of activities were organized to support the three-point demand of Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Bam including the Blood for Blood by Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Orawan “Bam” (last name wittheld) during which they poured red liquid on their bodies to demand the Courts allow their fellow political activists to post bail since their bail applications have been denied since 2022. As a result, both Tawan and Bam gad their bail revoked and put into prison. A sit-in protest “Free Our Friends” has been organized at the Criminal Court Ratchada by Ratsadon musicians while students of Chiang Mai University organized a Performance art lasting for five hours and 111 minutes by cladding in prisoner uniform and having shackles on their rights feet to mingle among the newly graduates who were about to participate in the gradation ceremony. During their activity, the police approached them and tried to stop them. They later laid siege to the student group and attempted to bring them for a talk. In addition, banners saying “Our Friends are Dying” were found hung in various campuses in Chiang Mai including the Chiang Mai University, North Chiang Mai University, etc. The Free E-san Feminists held an activity on hunger strike with friends for eight hours at the lawn of Khon Kaen University’s Bung Si Than Reservoir


The 24th June for Democracy and its alliances organized Car mob for freedom from Democracy Monument to the Criminal Court. The Student Government of Chulalongkorn University (SGCU) and the Kiam Udom Against Dictatorship organized the Walk Stop Imprisonment 1.12 kilometers in tandem with the Stand Stop Imprisonment for 112 hours by the Thalu Fah and the Handing (Letters) Stop Imprisonment by Thalu Fah. They marched to the Criminal Court Ratchadaphisek to apply for bail of political activists together with the attorneys and their relatives. The Thalu Wang marched from Thammasat University’s Tha Phra Chan Campus to the Supreme Court to submit names of people supporting the three-point demand of Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Bam following the petition campaign in with more than 6,514 individuals and 16 law lecturers from Schools of Law throughout the country. In addition, Thalu Wang and its alliances have submitted a letter to the executive members of the Pheu Thai Party urging them to take an urgent action on the three-point demand.Wanwalee Thammasattaya simulated the court hearings on the cases against Kathathon and Phonphot in front of the Criminal Court to demand the right to bail for persons remanded on political charges.

Less popular issues that triggered public assemblies include the demand for education reform. At least four public assemblies were held on the Children's Day by at least four members of Bad Students distributed school survival guide at the Ministry of Education demanding that the Prime Minister and Minister of Education act on their three demands including curriculum reform, ending violence in school and revision of outdated school rules and regulations by the Ministry of Education. At least 20 police officials in uniform were observing the activity while it was conducted.Four youth activists attempted to enter and participate in the Children's Day activities held inside the Government House, but were denied entry by uniform officials. Ear, a 14-year-old activist, was restrained and as a result suffered an injury.On the same day, at the event to mark the Children's Day at Wing 41 in Chiang Mai, Yaem, a 18-year-old activist, had her banners and crayons seized by the Air Force’s officials as she was about to invite passerby to help write on the banner “What do children want to tell adults?”. She was denied permission to write the banners at the event since it was not a creative activity. The officials further explained that the phrase “Song Yang Bad Sad Yang Boi” sounds very bad and why did you write it? As Yaem and her friends were about to leave, plainclothes officials ran toward her and asked “What did you record? I did not give you permission to video-record” and pulled Yaem by her arms until she fell down sustaining an abrasive wound. Yaem shouted for help from people nearby until the officials let go of Yaem and her friends.The Reform Students/Move-on Students organized a symbolic action “The Teaching of Good Teacher (that does not fit my generation)” to demand education reform.This month saw at least three public assemblies held to demand the ouster of the Government and to protest against the order to transfer government official. The White Doves for the People were holding banners to greet the Deputy Prime Minister in Lampang. During the activity, at least 30 police and security officials used force to control them while holding the banners “Stop Remnants of NCPO” and “IsusPom #EnoughIsEnough the past 8 years that happened to me.” In addition, speeches were made about the remnant of the NCPO and consequential impact of the coup and mismanagement of the government while media were asked not record the activity. Following rumor that Dr. Suphat Hasuwankit, Director of Chana Hospital was being transferred for unknown reasons, the Save Chana Network and its supporters have gone to meet and show their solidarity with Dr. Suphat at the hospital. The People’s Network of Songkhla has submitted letters of petition and spoken publicly about Dr. Suphat at the Songkhla Public Health Authority Office as well. In addition, an open letter was submitted to Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul on the issue as well.

The last issue is a demand on the environment and the right to land. At least two public assemblies were held **to oppose a waste-to-energy plant.**A public discussion and petition campaign were held against the construction of waste-to-energy plant in Tambon Tha Khum Ngoen, Mae Tha District, Lamphun.Later, the villagers have banded together to submit a letter of petition to the Governor reiterating their demand that the waste-to-energy plant absolutely not built in their villages.

Update on legal cases as of January 2023

January’s prosecutions against the people continue to intensify. Verdicts have been delivered in the trial courts in six Section 112 cases and eight Emergency Decree cases. At least new four prosecutions on Section 112 cases have been made. In addition, bails of two activists including Sophon “Get” Surariddhidhamrong and Bai Por (full name withheld) in Section 112 cases were revoked following their participation in the APEC public assemblies. Meanwhile, Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Orawan “Bam”(last name wittheld) indicted in Section 112 cases have withdrawn their bail applications. In addition, Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Bam have begun their dry fasting to demand the right to bail and solutions to problems in the judicial system.

Since the Free Youth led public assemblies on 18 July 2020 until 31 January 2023, at least 1,890individuals have been charged for participating in public assemblies or expressing their political opinions in 1,169cases including 211 cases against 284 youth under 18 years of age. Prosecutions against children include cases against 41 children under 15 years of age and 243 cases against children from 15-18 years. Compared with December 2022, two more individuals have been charged in four new cases (counting only those who have never been charged before.) Altogether, there have been at least 3,772 legal actions against the individuals although some of them are charged for multiple offences.

Detail of key offences can be described as follows;

1. “Lese majeste” offence pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section112, at least 225 suspects in 247 cases

Three more individuals were legally charged in four cases in January including Chokdee Romprukfor participating in a march to oust Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha #8YearsPrayutfrom the Victory Monument to the Government Houseduring23-24 August and his singing of "Good Luck to Have Thai People" as a result of which he was later additionally charged in an offence against Section 112.**Tee (name withheld)**was charged for distributing the book “A Selection of Speeches on 112 Cases” during the graduation ceremony at his university on30 December 2021.Attapon Buapat was reported to the police by Pareena Kraikupt in an offence against Section 112 relating to his speech at a political rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection on15 November2020. Previously, Attapon sued Pareena for defamation by public cation following her Facebook post accusing him of making a speech which appeared to threaten to kill a King, the case of which Pareena was convicted.In addition,a 14-year-old girl was reported to the police for committing an offence against Section 112, probably the youngest ever recorded, by Anond Klinkaew, Coordinator of the People United to Protect the Monarchy. Initially, it is unclear as to which action of her that has prompted such legal action.

More legal cases asides, at least five more individuals in five cases were indicted this month including Anon Numpa and Parit Chiwarak for allegedly speaking at the public assembly “Party by Mountain, Blowing Birthday Cake, Ducky Military General” at the lawn off the Chiang Mai University Arts Hall, Chiang Mai University on 23 November 2020. Parit Chiwarak was also indicted in another 112 case for posting Facebook message on 28 November 2020 which suggested that the Emerald Buddha was sold during the reign of King Rama VII and the need to revise the Crown Property Act B.E. 2561. Atiruj (last name wittheld) was indicted for yelling “You are such a burden wherever you go” during the passing of the royal motorcade of King Rama X and the Queen on their way back from the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) late afternoon of 15 October 2022.Mac (pseudonym) was indicted for posting a comment on Facebook Page of “Somsak Jeamteerasakul” regarding rumor about the illness of King Rama X around May 2021. Karim, Thalu Fah activist, was indicted for allegedly setting fire on the Honorary Arch for the King and traffic kiosk in front of the Ratwinit Secondary School during the assembly on 19 September 2021.

This month saw verdicts in five Section 112 cases, of which two defendants were found guilty including Mongkol Tirakote for posting 27 Facebook messages. The trial against Mongkol has been entirely conducted in secret and he was eventually convicted and sentenced to three years per count, albeit being reduced to two years per count. Altogether he is to serve time in jail for 28 years, although he is now out on bail pending the appeal trial. Sitthichoke Setsawet was convicted on Section 12 charges and sentenced to three years of imprisonment and another six months for violating the Emergency Decree, albeit being reduced to two years and four months. He was accused of spraying oil-like liquid at the foundation of the portrait of King Rama X and the Queen on the island of the Ratchadamnoen Nok Rd., Phan Fa Lilat Bridge during the #Mob18July2021. Denied bail, Sitthichoke was brought right away to prison.

Three individuals were acquitted including Laila (pseudonym) for allegedly removing the King’s portrait during the student public assembly in Lampang on 17 October 2020 given insufficient evidence to prove she was complicit in such action, Nakhon (pseudonym) for allegedly sharing a message from “Thai Atheist V2” and “KonthaiUK” Facebook Pages giving the incredulity of prosecution evidence and a lack of proof that the defendant made the posting, the five students and members of the public for allegedly hanging a banner that reads “Monarchy Budget>COVID-19 Vaccine Spending” at the Ratchapisek Bridge on 30 December 2020. The Court also dismissed Section 112 cases and cases related to the Computer Crime Act against Pinit citing insufficient evidence, although he was fined for violating the Cleanliness Act for 5,000 baht and the banner was seized.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party protects individuals who exercise their right to freedom of expression under Article 19 and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 21. In addition, the UN Human Rights Committee has raised concern about lese majeste laws around the world by stating that all public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and government, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition. Criticisms of public institutions should not be prohibited. Even though certain accusations on lese majeste may be perceived of involving an act of defamation, but the Committee holds that “imprisonment shall never be an appropriate sanction in all such cases.”

2. Sedition pursuant to the Penal Code’s Section116, at least 128 suspects in 40 cases

3. An offence against the Emergency Decree, at least 1,467 suspects in 663 cases

This month saw two more indictments on the offence against the Emergency Decree including the cases against Niran Luadngern and Witsanuphon Somnam who were accused of participating in CarMob Surin Ousting Dictators on 1 and 15 August 2021, and were allowed to post bail entering a contract promising to attend every court hearing, otherwise they would be fined 20,000 baht. Rulings were delivered in seven cases, of which six were case dismissals including Narongchai Intharakaweefor participating in the CarMob in Singhaburi on31 July2021 given a lack of implicating evidence,sixactivists6 คนfor participating in the “Korat RevolutionCar Mob and Mini Market” by the Korat Movement on21 August2021 since they were not the organizers,Chonticha Jaengrewfor organizing the Drawing the Line to Oust Dictators on the Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd. and around the Democracy Monument on16 August2020. The Court found the Emergency Decreewas not used as a political tool to unreasonably suppress public assemblies.Chalermchai Watchang and Thanadet Srisongkhramwas acquitted for marching to help found the Thalu FahVillage by the Government Houseon13 March2021 as the Court found their action a peaceful and unarmed assembly according to the Constitution and any restriction measures must comply with superior laws and should not cause undue burden on the public, although they were fined 200 baht for unauthorized use of amplifier.Piyarat Chongthep, Panusaya Sittijirawattanakul and Parit Chiwarak were acquitted in the cases stemming from the #StandWithMyanmar protest in front of the Myanmar Embassy on Sathon Nua Rd. to oppose the military coup led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on 1 February 2021 as the Court found the demonstration site was not crowded and there was no instigation to cause public disorder. They were also acquitted on an offence against the Amplifier Act since the prosecution has failed to present the case to hold them accountable for unauthorized use of amplifier. Chatchai Kaedam was acquitted in the case stemming from his participation in the CarMobRangsit starting from Ransit University en route Vibhavadi Rangsit Rd. to join other caravans of CarMob in Bangkok on 1 August 2021 as the Court found he was not an organizer and therefore was not dutybound to notify the authorities and to prepare disease prevention measures. In the conviction case, the Court ruled Piyarat Chongthep guilty for wearing Thai traditional dress to show his solidarity with those charged for “lese majeste”, the Penal Code’s Section 112 on 17 December 2020 in front of the Yannawa Police Station. Although he was acquitted on traffic obstruction and unauthorized use of ampler charges, but was convicted on the Emergency Decree and the Public Assembly Act and was fined for 2,000 baht.

Until now, the Emergency Decree has been invoked to criminalize those who exercise their right to freedom of assembly, particularly people who criticize the government’s performance even though such right is protected under Article 21 of the ICCPR and freedom of assembly and information under Article 19 of the ICCPR, freedom of movement under Article 12 of the ICCPR and the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs under Article 25 of the ICCPR. Nevertheless, such prosecutions are considered unnecessary and disproportionate. In addition, according to ICCPR’s Article 4, a state party may take measures derogating from their obligations under the ICCPR to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. Thailand has informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations of such derogation which became effective since 26 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. 2020, although no further effort was since made to inform the Secretary-General of the extension of the State of Emergency. Therefore, it can be construed that Thailand has not properly exercised its right of derogation in compliance with tis obligation under ICCPR from 30 June 2020 onward.

4. An offence against the Public Assembly Act, at least 132 suspects in 76 cases

5. An offence against the Computer Crimes Act, at least 159 suspects in 179 cases

Rulings were delivered in three cases, of which two were dismissed. Sonthaya (last name wittheld) was accused of twitting picture of the portrait of King Rama X with spray-painted text that says “Kasat[…]” at the foundation and another text “Pattaya Klang, my dear” on 16 October 2020. The Court acquitted him citing failure by the prosecution to present how the offence was against national security and thus not compliant with the Criminal Procedure Code. All the exhibits were ordered seized including a mobile phone. In addition, the Court acquitted another member of the public who was also accused as a result of posting the picture from the same incidence on Facebook with a caption “Pattaya Tai Intersection” since the Court found the picture was not further doctored and the defendant could not be held accountable for importing false information into computer system.

The case of Danai Ussama who was accused of posting a message via Facebook account “Zen Wide” on 16 March 2020 describing his arrival from Spain’s Barcelona and not seeing any officials to conduct Covid-19 tests of the passengers at the Suvannaphum Airport. Overturning verdict of the Lower Court, the Appeals Court convicted him and sentenced him to one year of imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 baht, with imprisonment being suspended for two years. As to the phone used for posting the message, the Court found it evidence in the case and ordered a seizure of it. Following the verdict, Danai and his attorneys have prepared to appeal with the Supreme Court.

6. A contempt of court, at least 36 suspects in 20 cases, and insult of the court, at least 36 suspects in 8 cases

As to contempt cases, the Appeals Court ruled in four cases. In the case against Benja Apan and Nutchanon Pairoj charged for participating in the protest in front of the Criminal Court to demand the release of political prisoners on 29 April 2021, the Court has changed their punishment from six months of imprisonment to one month of detention. But since Benja had been detained longer than the sentencing, she would not serve more time in jail. Nutchanon was allowed to post bail with surety worth 50,000 . Lertsak Khamkhongsak and Nawaphon Tonngam were charged for assembling in front of Criminal Court to show solidarity to 18 protest leaders in #19Sept to restore power of Ratsadon in front of the Ratchada Criminal Court on 8 March 2021. The Appeals Court found their action not an exercise of rights and freedoms under the Constitution and upheld verdict of the Lower Court to imprison them one month and fine 500 baht, although imprisonment is suspended for one year.

Of 1,169 cases, 301 cases have reached the final verdicts leaving more than 868 active cases pending in various stages of the procedure.

Individuals remanded in custody

The situation of bail revocation of activists this month is worth the attention. Four more individuals have found their bails revoked following their indictments on Section 112 cases including Sophon “Get” Surariddhidhamrong who was accused for making speech during the protest on Tour Mu La Phao on 22 April 2022 and Bai Por (full name withheld) who was accused of sharing posts about “monarchy budget” and another post to invite people to participate in a poll on the exercise of power by the King in the “Thalu Wang” Facebook page on 17 April 2022. Both had their bails revoked following their participation in the protests against the #APEC2022 meeting on 17 and 19 November 2022. In addition, , Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Orawan “Bam” (last name withheld) have withdrawn their bail applications to demand a reform of the judicial process, to stop legal prosecution against the people who have exercised their right to freedom of expression and to demand all political parties adopt a policy to repeal Sections 112 and 116. Tantawan has withdrawn her bail on the case stemming from her livestreaming in front of the UN Headquarters prior to the arrival of the royal motorcade on the Ratchadamnoen Nok Rd. on 5 March 2022 while Bam has withdrawn her bail on the case stemming from her street poll on royal motorcade at the Siam Paragon. Upon the withdrawals, the Court immediately revoked their bails as a result of which they were taken to and remanded in custody at the Central Women’s Correctional.Soon after, Tantawan and Bam have elevated their action to start dry fasting after their three-point demand was not met.In addition, Sitthichoke Setsawet has also been detained following the accusation that he sprayed oil-like liquid at the foundation of the portrait of King Rama X and the Queen on the island of the Ratchadamnoen Nok Rd. , Phan Fa Lilat Bridge during the #Mob18July2021. Sitthichoke has elevated his action in the prison by starting his dry fasting to demand the right to bail for all detainees

Applications for bail have since been filed for all persons remanded on political charges, but none has been bailed out. As a result, as of January, there remain 16 individuals being remanded in custody .

The state of harassment against the public

State harassment against the public in January was far and few between despite an increase of the number of public assemblies from December 2022. In the wage of Tantawan’s and Bam’s dry fasting to demand the right to bail of all persons remanded on political charges, it has galvanized more people to come out and demand the right to bail for the detainees. The harassment can be divided as follows;

Harassment due to the visit of VIP persons

Members of the royal family

Fah (pseudonym) and two other students revealed how two plainclothes police officials claiming to come from Muang Mahasarakham Police Station visiting them at their dormitory close to the university. They claimed to have been at the dormitory since 05.00am fearing Fah might take any political action during the visit of Princess Ubol Ratana to Mahasarakham. Fah asides, at least two other students also experience such following during Princess Ubol Ratana’s visit to Mahasarakham.


Two activists from the White Dove for the People revealed that more than plainclothes police officials from unidentified affiliation have surrounded them while they were about to greet General Prawit on his vehicle during his visit to Lampang. The plainclothes police have crowded them out and unfurled umbrellas to conceal their banner which says “Stop Remnants of NCPO”.

Harassment to disrupt activities

Kan Chomyong had two police officials from the Prachinburi Police Station gone to see her parents at their residence claiming her sharing a Facebook post from 'Andrew MacGregor Marshall' on 15 December 2022 relating to the monarchy and heir apparent. Police pressuring for the removal of the post from Kan’s personal Facebook page.

Harassment for unknown reasons

MoveHight MSU posted a Facebook message concerning the university sending names and information of student political activists to the police even though some of the students were not involved.

Kan (pseudonym) revealed how he encountered four plainclothes police in front of his home and was later taken into custody without a warrant for over two hours. The police asked for passwords to access his email and social media accounts and asked him to sign his name in an MOU claiming this has stemmed from his posting a comment about the cousin marriage within the royal family since it might be an offence of lese majeste.

Trend of harassment in February 2023

The authorities continue to stay vigilant of people’s attempts to express themselves. Any political activities including ones with many participants, or ones with people holding some paper could result in the participants being held in custody. The authorities have never been hesitant to exercise their power to deprive people’s rights and freedoms to ensure public order and national security. Therefore, it can be projected that harassment in February will be on an increase and tends to escalate toward more violence. Any political activities by even small activist groups or even by one single person could be subjected to surveillance and stifled by the authorities, particularly during the visits of prominent figures.