After the paranoid Thai military pressured students in northern Thailand to cancel a discussion during lunch session, students responded with distributing anti-junta leaflets in university’s restrooms.  

Over 30 military officers came to Chiang Mai University on Tuesday afternoon to monitor an activity ‘Eating and Debating About Student Activities Under the Martial Law’, an event organized by students from Chiang Mai University of the northern province of Chiang Mai.

The activity which was supposed to take place at noon was eventually cancelled due to the pressure amounted from the military presence in the campus.

After the event was cancelled students reportedly distributed anti-junta fliers in the Student Association building’s restrooms. The messages of the fliers read, “No Coup”, “Stop intimidating students”, and “Dictator get out”.

Plain fliers with a message read "Dictator Get Out" in restroom of Student Association's Building of Chiang Mai University

According to the organizers of the event, the activity was meant to allow students space discuss and exchange ideas casually. However, a lot of military officer and police in and out of uniforms were seen in campus before the event was supposed to be held.

The cancelled event coincided with an activity to decorate Student Association’s Building of Chiang Mai University with the national and the King’s flags, which was allegedly planned by the university administrators to distract students from joining the anti-junta event.

In Bangkok at around 5pm, police in plain cloths and military officers also came to Srinakarin Wirot University in central Bangkok to find students who distributed anti-junta leaflets earlier.

On Tuesday morning, students from ‘Graft Liberty for Democracy’, a student activist group based in Srinakarin Wirot University in central Bangkok,distributed fliers to urge the junta to put an end to the imposition of the martial law and stop intimidating students.

According to Matichon, one member of the group stated that six months after the coup staged by the National Council for Peace and Order on 22 May, it is proven that the martial law does not solve the political problem in society which people have various different ideas. Therefore, the junta should reconsider this and remove the martial law as soon as possible.

Police (in plain cloths) and military officers at Srinakarin Wirot University in central Bangkok on 25 November evening (courtesy of Matichon)


The Tour de France, the world's long-running, most prestigious (and somewhat plagued) cycling race, will start its 2016 edition from Manche in Normandy, France, with the rest of the route to be revealed on December 9. I might be going on a limb here, but I'm pretty sure that the last stage will be again on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Read more...
Human Rights Watch

(New York, November 25, 2014) – Thailand’s military government is severely repressing fundamental rights and freedoms six months after its May 22, 2014 coup, Human Rights Watch said today. The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has shown no genuine signs of restoring democratic civilian rule.

“Respect for fundamental freedoms and democracy in Thailand under military rule has fallen into an apparently bottomless pit,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Six months after the coup, criticism is systematically prosecuted, political activity is banned, media is censored, and dissidents are tried in military courts.”

Protesters who express disagreement with the junta—such as by showing the three-finger salute used in “The Hunger Games” movies as an act of defiance, putting duct tape or a hand over their mouths in public or in photos posted on Facebook—face a possible two-year prison term. Coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, now prime minister and NCPO chairman, announced on November 17 that criticizing or obstructing him, the government, or the NCPO was unacceptable. He also undermined his claims about a road map to return to civilian democratic rule through free and credible elections, saying on November 21: “Don’t ask me to give you democracy and elections. This is not the right time.” Prayuth then added that the enforcement of martial law would continue “as long as necessary.”

The junta’s intolerance was exemplified on November 19 in northeastern Khon Kaen province when military authorities arrested five university students for standing up during a speech by Prayuth and revealing t-shirts emblazoned with “Don’t Want a Coup” in Thai. They then raised their hands to give the three-fingered salute, a symbol of resistance in Thailand since the coup. Shortly after the students were taken away to a nearby military camp, Prayuth announced, “Anyone else want to protest?” During interrogations, military authorities threatened the students with a military court trial for violating martial law and expulsion from their state-run university. However, after a public outcry, the five students were released without charge on November 20.

Two days later, another student was arrested for showing the three-finger salute at a Bangkok cinema. She was detained and interrogated at the Bangkok Army Club for several hours before being released without charge. In Chiang Mai, Loei, and other provinces, soldiers and police have summoned activists and students who posted self-portraits on Facebook holding up a three-finger salute and ordered them to sign agreements to cease all “anti-coup activities.”

The 1st Police Region commissioner, Maj. Gen. Amnuay Nimmano, told the media that people are not allowed to oppose the sovereign authority of the NCPO.

Suppression of Free Expression and Public Assembly
As part of its crackdown and attempt to maintain its hold on power, the junta has repeatedly vowed to prosecute critics of the monarchy, in violation of the right to freedom of speech, Human Rights Watch said. Thai authorities have frequently used the offense of lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) under article 112 of the penal code to intimidate, arrest, and prosecute people accused of criticizing the king and members of the royal family. At least 14 new lese majeste cases are pending in the Bangkok military court and in criminal courts around Thailand. On November 18, the Bangkok military court sentenced online radio host Kathawut Bunpitak to five years in prison for insulting the king. On November 24, the Bangkok military court jailed website editor, known by his penname as Somsak Pakdeedech, four years and six months for publishing an article that Thai authorities deemed to defame the monarchy. Under martial law, a military court verdict is final and cannot be appealed. The Bangkok criminal court continues to deny bail applications for Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkong, who were arrested on August 14 and 15 respectively for their participation in “The Wolf Bride”—a play considered by the military authorities to be insulting to the monarchy.

On November 12, national police chief Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompanmuang announced a ban on the book “A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century,” written by former Reuters journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall. The police said the book insulted and fomented hatred of members of the royal family. Using powers under the 2007 Printing Act, the police ordered the seizure and destruction of copies of the book. Violators of the ban are liable to a prison term of up to three years.

Since the coup, the NCPO has enforced a broad ban on discussion about political issues, including topics related to democracy, freedom, and human rights, Human Rights Watch said. On November 21, soldiers entered Burapha University in the eastern province of Chonburi and forced the university to cancel a “Rights and Freedom of the People” seminar organized by students activists. On November 22, Chulalongkorn University canceled a seminar on the topic “Desirable Parliamentary System for Democratic System” that was hosted by the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies because the organizers had not received prior permission to hold the seminar from the NCPO.  

The junta has also tightened restrictions on media. On November 13, Lt. Gen. Suchai Pongput, the NCPO-appointed head of a special committee to monitor media, said that reporting needed to be controlled to ensure reconciliation in society: “We do not limit media freedom but freedom must be within limits.” The military pressured Thai PBS TV to remove Nattaya Wawweerakhup from the talk show “Voices of the People That Must Be Heard Before the Reform” after she allowed participants on a November 8 program to criticize the coup and raise concerns about repression under military rule.

The NCPO’s suppression of free expression and public assembly makes the government’s self-proclaimed “reform” process into a sham that lacks broad-based participation and strictly follows the junta’s guidelines, Human Rights Watch said. Public forums on issues such as land reform, forest conservation, energy policy, and tax policy have been canceled by the military citing concerns that the discussions could fuel social divisions. Any gathering of more than five people can be prohibited under martial law.

The NCPO has also targeted activists who disagree with the NCPO’s reform process. For example, local military authorities summoned 16 activists in northeastern Thailand to report to them after 12 human rights and civil society organizations issued a statement on November 3 that they would not participate in the reform process initiated by the NCPO, whose legitimacy and authority they questioned. Some of those summoned reported as ordered and were released following questioning and after promising not to engage in any further political activities. Some were compelled to publicly recant their views and issue a statement to that effect on Facebook.

On November 9, the military arrested and briefly detained Professor Prapart Pintobtang, a political scientist from Chulalongkorn University, and three activists after they attempted to organize a march against the NCPO’s forestry policy, which Prapart and colleagues believe could lead to forced evictions of many poor villagers across Thailand.

“Instead of a path toward the return of democracy, the junta is tightening its grip on free speech and any public criticism,” Adams said. “Simply offering an opinion on politics can land a person in military court and prison. The junta needs to reverse course and revoke martial law, end rights abuses, and take concrete steps towards democratic elections if it wants to persuade the international community it’s not a dictatorship.”

For the fourth time the military court refused to grant bail to a man accused of writing graffiti mainly criticizing the junta and making reference to the king in the restrooms of a shopping mall, despite the suspect’s severe health conditions.
The military court on Monday for the fourth time declined a 2.5 million baht bail request of Opas C., a 67-year-old man charged with writing seditious messages which expressed disapproval of the junta and the Democrat Party and contained a physical description of the king. 
According to Sasinan Thamnitinan, the suspect’s lawyer, it is not necessary to detain the suspect further since all the evidence and witness testimony were uncomplicated and the interrogation process is complete. Moreover, Opas has retinopathy and might go blind if he is not treated properly.
However, the military court allowed the suspect to be detained further, citing the severity of the charge and flight risk. The court also said that the suspect can be treated at the prison hospital.    
Opas was caught by guards at Seacon Square mall in eastern Bangkok on 15 October and later handed over to the military by mall personnel. He was brought before the press on 17 October and charged with lèse majesté by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) for writing the following message:
“The government of clowns that robbed the nation, led by f*** Prayut. They have issued ridiculous policies of amateur comedians. Their main job is to use the monarchy ([censored by Prachatai*]). Their main weapon is Article 112. I’m sick of seeing your face [Prayut’s] every day. It tells me that you [Prayut] are near the end because of the looming internal conflict.”
*The censored phrase, allegedly a reference to the King, merely gives a physical description of a person.
Opas is now detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison.
Opas at the military court on Monday
Thaweeporn Kummetha and Kongpob Areerat
In reaction to the May coup d’état, many people took to the streets of Bangkok and elsewhere during the first few weeks to protest against the coup-makers. The voices of these political dissidents, especially those of the anti-establishment red shirts, however, eventually died down after many of them were arrested, detained, and charged harshly under martial law, imposed since 22 May. 
It has been six months since Gen Prayut Chan-ocha declared the military coup d’état. The arrests of anti-coup protesters during the first month of the coup and the summonses and detentions of politicians, activists and journalists seemed to succeed in creating fear among Thais, so that they stopped resisting and lived their lives normally. 
Anti-coup protest in central Bangkok's Siam Square in June
Six months of life under the junta and martial law has proved that it affects not only people who are against the coup. 
The junta’s policies, reforms and proposed bills touch on various issues including education, energy, natural resources, land reform, forestry, immigration, education and tax. It has become clearer that the junta’s direction of reform definitely benefits some groups of people while negatively affecting others.  The junta has also prepared several controversial bills to be passed by the rubber-stamp junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA). However, martial law prohibits people who are negatively affected by the junta from expressing their concerns and opposition. Every attempt to speak has a high cost. People who organize rallies have been detained, interrogated and forced to sign an agreement that if they stage any political activity again, they will be prosecuted by the military. Some need to ask for permission if they wish to travel abroad. Activities that did not involve Thai politics were also monitored and interrupted and some were banned. Examples include Amnesty International’s event calling for peace in Gaza, a meeting between a lawyer and her clients, a cultural event, and a panel discussion featuring a pro-military Democrat party member.  
When arresting organizers and banning such activities, the military usually say that anyone who wants to have a say in reform should submit a letter to the junta’s appointed National Reform Committee (NRC) and if anyone wants to complain, they should submit their complaint to the Interior Ministry’s Damrongtham Centre. Any other attempts to voice opinions are strictly prohibited.
Student activists organizes anti-coup activity at Thammasart University, Thaprachan Campus, on 29 May 2014
This strict censorship policy has been applied equally to all colours, even against the activists who initially supported the coup to overthrow the Yingluck Shinawatra government. Several seminars were banned even though they were organized in a constructive manner and joined by supporters of the coup. 
"If anyone disagrees with the NCPO, they have the right to think that way. But they cannot express that [disagreement], strictly," Khaosod English quoted Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and a member of the junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), as saying.  "The government is currently working to build reconciliation. We don't want any disputes," Gen. Prawit told reporters today.
The frustration from censorship led to a group of 12 NGOs and 16 activists from Thailand’s Northeast to issue a statement in early November, calling for the revocation of martial law. As expected, the activists were summoned and faced harassment. Nevertheless, a handful of human rights organizations were not deterred by the news of harassment and issued statements condemning the junta, echoing the call for martial law to be lifted. This has become a pattern of one act of harassment leading to others becoming more and more courageous and striking back.
The anti-coup wave reached its peak last week, thanks to the new generation. Last week, five student activists from Khon Kaen University in the Northeast gave the three-fingered salute to Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha while he was giving a speech for civil servants. Immediately, the military detained and interrogated them. The military used their parents and threatened that they would be fired from the university if they did not accept the conditions of the junta. 
They were finally released without charge -- safe and sound-- with some not even accepting the conditions. This courageous act broke the barrier of fear created by martial law and inspired many others, especially student activists, to follow. It also created a chain of activities of several groups of people calling for the release of the Khon Kaen student activists and the revocation of martial law. This also coincided with the sixth month anniversary of the coup. 
The courageous act by Khon Kaen student activists
The Northeast, also known as Isan, was a stronghold of the red shirts and Thaksin Shinawatra. Although the red-shirt movement has died down since the coup due to harsh repression, the new anti-coup wave which kicked off in the region has proved that people in this region are still the most politically active in the country. 
The timeline of the anti-coup wave 
In this timeline, Prachatai put together a record of the people's anti-coup activities and how the junta is using martial law to suppress them. 
*Note: the timeline does not include political dissidents, such as red shirts, who have been charged with offences under the criminal code, including Article 112, also known as the lèse majesté law. 
October 16: Education for Liberation of Siam, and organization of a group of high-school students who have been campaigning against the junta’s controversial education reform centred on the nationalistic 12 Thai values, submitted an open letter to Prayuth Chan-Ocha the head of the junta to reconsider the education reform agendas based on a defined set of morality and nationalistic values. Later on 23 October, the military tried to intimidate the group  by calling the director of the school where Nattanan Warintarawet, the group leader, is a student, and asked about her whereabouts and the group’s activities.
Nantanan (second from the right), the secretary general of Education for Liberation of Siam (ELS),  reads the ELS's stance in front of the Ministry of Education on 14 October.
October 24: The military harassed Boonyuen Siritum, a consumer rights and energy reform activist and former senator at her house in a bid to suppress rallies on energy reform. Boonyuen, however, insisted that she was not involved in the rallies.
November 4: 12 civil organizations based in Isan, the northeastern region in Thailand, issued an open letter titled ‘No Reform Under the Boot of the Military’ to denounce the junta’s legitimacy, the National Legislative Assembly, the National Reform Council, and the imposition of martial law. The statement accused the junta of using the martial law to limit public participations in national reform while trying to issue policies, which benefit the investors rather than the poor. 
November 5: The military and police officers came to observe a conference on Human Rights and the Constitution, in a bid to harass northeastern NGOs and activists many of whom were believed to be the signatories of the an open letter entitled ‘No Reform under the Boot of the Military’, drafted earlier against the junta’s imposition of martial law and reform agenda.
Police and military officers negotiate with the organisers of the conference on human rights and constitution on November 5 in front of the conference room
November 7: After the open letter ‘No Reform Under the Boot of the Military’ was publicized, at least eight signatories of the draft were forced to report themselves to the military at local military bases. This included one activist who was captured by fully armed soldiers and briefly detained earlier at a military camp. Some were also forced to post statements on Facebook that they were treated well under detention.
November 9The Northern Peasant Federation organized rally to urge the junta to abolish the “Return the Forest” policy, which affected thousands of poor people who have been evicted from protected areas. The rally, however, was forced to be cancelled by the military.  Four participants of the rally, including Prapart Pintobtang, a political scientist from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, were briefly detained by the military.
Military police detain Prapart Pintobtang and put him in a prison vehicle on November 9
November 12: Land rights activists in Chiang Mai from Northern Peasant Federation planned to wear the group’s t-shirts with a message reads “First step towards land reform in Thailand” to a meeting with ML Panadda Diskul, the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Officer, to discuss land rights and land reform. The military, however, tried to force the group not to wear the t-shirt. On the same day, the military also prohibited the villagers from the northern province of Lampang to participate in the same meeting.
 Military officers negotiating whether the activists can wear the t-shirts or not on 12 November. 
November 14The military pressured the executives of Thailand’s Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) to remove Nattaya Wawweerakhup, host of the “Voices of the People that Must Be Heard Before the Reform” , program who allegedly asked questions, which led people to make negative remarks against the junta. Earlier, during the program, Nattaya talked to villagers and activists of southern Thailand criticised the junta.  The alleged problematic question is that Nattaya asked the villagers whether they felt frustrated with the coup -- the coup they once paved the way for.
November 15The military forced the cancellation of a planned cultural event ‘Our land...whose land?’ with a mini concert and talks by Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned social critic, and Pasuk Pongpaijit, a respected political-economist, because the junta was paranoid that the event would touch on political issues
November 16: The military and police detained at least four activists after they held a silent press briefing on the forced cancellation of the ‘Our land...whose land?’, a planned cultural event with a mini concert and talks by Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned social critic, and Pasuk Pongpaijit, a respected political-economist. The military cancelled the event out of fear that it might be related to politics. 
November 18Students from Kasetsart University in Bangkok organised rally against the construction of Mae Wong Dam in the east of Bangkok. However, many police officers came to monitor the event and used the martial law to force the students to abort the rally.    
Police officers temporarily detain students planning to stage a rally against the construction of the Mae Wong Dam on 18 November at Kasetsart University, Bangkok. (photo courtesy of Abhisit Sapnaphapan)
November 17: The military summoned Kritsakorn Silarak, an activist from the People’s Movement for Just Society (P-Move), to a military camp in order to close down his personal Facebook page and a community Facebook page called, ‘Together, let’s open the gates of Pak Moon Dam forever’, citing that the Facebook pages bring discomfort to the authorities. Kritsakorn, however, refused and said that he would be willing to go to the ‘attitude adjustment camp’ if the military want him to.   
November 19Five student activists from the Dao Din group, a student activist group based in Khon Kaen University in Thailand’s Northeast,gave three-fingered salutes and wore t-shirts with a message reading ‘No to the coup d’état’, in front of Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the junta, while he was giving a speech in Khon Kaen Provincial Hall. They were later arrested and detained at the military camp. The military tried to force the five to sign an agreement not to get involve in any future political movement. However, only two out of five conceded to the order. 
November 19 An activist from Thai Volunteer Service Foundation posted and shared an anti-coup picture of herself taken on a mountain peak in Chiang Mai among friends. In the picture, she and her friend held the banners read “No martial law and No National Council for Peace and Order”. She was arrested the next day and reported that the military tried to force her to sign an agreement not be participate any political movement in the future and threatened that she might be detained for seven days if she failed to do so. She however refused to sign and was released without charge.
Siriporn Chayphet and a friend hold a sheet of paper reading “No Martial Law” and “No NCPO”. The sign below reads “Peak of Chiang Dao Mountain, 2,225 metres above sea level.” The spot is for tourists to take photos as souvenirs of their visit.
November 19: The police pressured cinemas in downtown Bangkok to cancel screenings of ‘Hunger Games 3’ after the five Khon Kaen student activists were detained for giving the three-fingered symbol derived from the movie to defy the junta’s leader.
November 1911 students from League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD), a student activist body of Thammasat University, organized a symbolic supper at the Democracy Monument in central Bangkok in support of the five Khon Kaen student activists who were arrested earlier for giving three-fingered salutes. They were arrested and detained briefly before released without charge.
LLTD members at Democracy Monument eat supper and flash three-fingered salutes
November 20: Khon Rak Ban Koed (KRBK) (People Who Love Their Homeland), anti-mine village activist group from the northeastern province of Loei, put up banners and took pictures of the act to support five Khon Kaen students activists who were arrested from flashing three-fingered salute in front of Prayuth. The were later summoned by the military to discuss about the group’s connection to the student activists and mining issues.
KRBK members taking pictures on Thursday. The placard reads, "To our children, Dao Din, looking for the path to Democracy, we stand with you", to support five arrested Khon Kaen student activists
November 20: The military banned ‘Land, disparity, tax: the step we have to choose’, an academic seminar on the Thai economy and income disparity and told the organizer that the matter can only be discussed with the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The military also told the owner of the Reading Room, the planned venue in downtown Bangkok, that she need to ask the authorities for permission before holding any future event.
Five military officers visits to the Reading Room and tell the library owner she needs to ask for permission for any future event. 
November 20: A cloth banner, read “Government stop harassing university students” was put up at a pedestrian bridge at Kasetsart University, Seri Kaset, student activist group, based at the university condemned the arrest of Khon Kaen University students, praised them for their courage. It also urges the NCPO to lift the martial law and return democracy to Thai people as soon as possible.  
A cloth banner, read “Government stop harassing university students” was put up at a pedestrian bridge at Kasetsart University 
November 20: Student activists from Burapha University, Chonburi, urged the junta to stop intimidating students and give moral support to the Khon Kaen student activists.
Burapha student activists hold banners read "Stop intimidating students", "Free our brothers. Stop harass student", "Support for our brothers in Khon Kaen," "Free the five Khon Kaen students."
November 20: Three people in Chiang Mai took pictures of himself and two others flashing a three-fingered salute to support the Khon Kaen student activists. One of them was then arrested and only released after being coerced into signing the military-drafted agreement not to engage in political activity again. The military later tried to find the other two suspects in the photo, threatening that they would visit their houses. Later, the rest turned themselves in on 23 November.

Nitipong Samrankong (left) and two others flash the anti-coup salute at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai on Thursday



November 20: A student activist gave three-fingered salute and showed a placard read "Prayut is President Snow" at Siam Paragon department store.


A student activist give three-fingered salute at Paragon Cineplex


November 21 A group of student activists called ‘Paradoxocracy’ based in Burapha University of the eastern province of Chonburi ‘Rights organized a seminar called ‘Freedom of the People in the D_m_c_a_y era’, which was scheduled to be held on 24 November. However, the military stormed into the university and forced the students to cancel the event, citing that they were not comfortable with what its title suggested.
Military officers come to the university and 'asked' not to allow the event to be held.
November 24: The police arrested eight student activists at Thammasat University after they distributed leaflets featuring a poem by Chit Phumisak, the late Thai poet and communist rebel, which reads "In an era of darkness, rule is by the gun, but people will still be people." The poem has become a talk of the town recently after Somak Jeamteerasakul, Thammasat historian, who now lives in self-exile in France, featured the poem on his Facebook cover.
Student activists distribute anti-coup leaflets at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan campus. 


Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
On 19 and 20 November, student and other activists carried out a series of peaceful, symbolic protests against the dictatorship in Thailand. In response, the military and police acted to swiftly end the protests and arrest eight of the activists under the terms of martial law. The position of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was summed up by deputy prime minister General Prawit Wongsuwan in a statement widely reported in the Thai press on 20 November that, " can think differently, but do not express it." In each of these cases, described below by the Asian Human Rights Commission drawing on reporting carried out by Prachatai, the military has attempted to intimidate student and other activists into promising to cease their expressing their opinions and engaging in political activities. As the six-month anniversaries of the declaration of martial law (20 November) and the coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (22 November) pass in Thailand, the junta has extended and consolidated its repressive apparatus.
On the morning of Wednesday, 19 November, a group of five students (Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Wason Sedsit, Jedsarit Namkot, Payu Boonsopon, and Wichakorn Anuchon) from the Human Rights Law Centre for Society (Dao Din) at Khon Kaen University engaged in a peaceful protest against the coup during a speech to local civil servants by junta leader and appointed prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha. Both before and subsequent to the coup, the members of Dao Din have actively worked to support and protect human rights and community rights in relation to various issues, including mining and land reform. Several members of the group were detained in June shortly after the coup and pressured to stop their activities. During the recent protest, they donned t- shirts which, when assembled in a line, spelled out, "No to the coup" in Thai (ไม่เอารัฐประหาร) and walked in front of the stage when General Prayuth was speaking. They raised their fingers in the three-finger salute of 'liberty-equality-fraternity' made popular by TheHunger Games films. They were swiftly arrested by police and first taken to the local police station and then to Sri Patcharin military camp to be interrogated. The military asked the students to remove their shirts and when they refused, the military forcibly removed their t-shirts. When the students were released on Wednesday evening, they walked out of the military camp without shirts or jackets. They and their parents were ordered to return to the military camp the next morning. On the morning of Thursday, 20 November, the students and their parents reported to the military camp where both parties were threatened that if the students did not sign an agreement to cease political activities, they were subject to expulsion from the university and proceedings in military court for the violation of martial law. Several of the students agreed to the conditions and several did not. Following the meeting, they were released and there were several reports of unmarked vehicles driving by their homes and other forms of harassment.
Then, also on the morning of 20 November, the military and police arrested several student activists in relation to screenings of the film The Hunger Games. During the morning, Rattapol Supasopol, a member of the League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy, and Champ, a student activist arrested in June when he symbolically protested by eating a sandwich and reaching the novel 1984 in public, were arrested by the police at the Scala movie theatre in Siam Square. At the time of their arrest, they had not engaged in any overt protest, but were simply present prior to a screening of the film where a peaceful protest was planned. The screening at Scala was cancelled and the two students were later released. On the afternoon of 20 November, Natcha Kong-udom, a student at Bangkok University, was arrested when she raised three fingers in protest in front of reporters who had gathered in front of the movie theatre at Siam Paragon shopping center. She was arrested and detained by the military until the evening before she was released. The screening of the film at Siam Paragon continued, but was accompanied by a heavy military and police presence.
Further, on the early evening of 20 November, Siriporn Kongpetch, a trainer with the
Youth Development for the Transformation of Society Project of the Thai Volunteer Service (TVS), was arrested and detained by the police in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai province. Her car was searched by soldiers and police, her ID was seized and she was taken to the local police station No accusation was made against her, but she was arrested because photographs of her holding signs that said, "Repeal martial law" and "No to the NCPO" at Chiang Dao mountain had been posted on Facebook several days prior. The officials informed her that they had been looking for her since the photographs had been distributed. They tried to convince her to sign an agreement to refrain from engaging in any political movement, but she refused and maintained her right to express her opinion.
The Asian Human Rights Commission notes that these eight individuals have been arrested and detained solely as a result of expressing their opinions about the coup. This indicates that nearly six months after the coup, to think differently than the NCPO is being treated as a de facto crime. As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Government of Thailand has a responsibility to protect the rights as prescribed by Article 19 of the ICCPR, which notes that, "1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. 3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals." The demand for the eight persons to cease expressing their opinions and engaging in political activities is a clear violation of Article 19.
In recent weeks, the military authorities have also summoned activists and human rights defenders (AHRC-STM-197-2014), prevented a walk to raise awareness about land reform in Chiang Mai (AHRC-STM-196-2014), and intimidated lawyers working to support human rights. Over the past six months since the coup by the NCPO, human rights defenders and dissidents who peacefully protest, or who express any criticism, have been targeted by the junta. Combined with the extensive powers granted to the junta under martial law and the temporary constitution, these actions have created an atmosphere of fear that is detrimental to human rights and the rule of law.
The Asian Human Rights Commission unequivocally condemns the coup and the disappearance of rights and liberties in Thailand in the strongest terms possible. While the AHRC welcomes the release of the activists who have expressed their dissenting options, they should not have been arrested in the first place. They are citizens who were expressing their opinion peacefully and are a danger to no one. To think differently than the junta is not a crime. To express one's opinion is not a crime. The AHRC calls on the NCPO to cease arresting and detaining those who do so and return to civilian rule immediately.
BANGKOK, 24 November 2014: A 67% surge in arrivals from China helped Thailand record an overall growth of 6.14% in visits in October, the first month of positive growth this year. Tourist arrivals reached 2,180,601 in October including 501,043 trips from China, giving it a market share of 23%. The upturn raised arrivals in January […] Read more...
The military in Chiang Mai threatened two anti-coup protesters who gave the three-fingered salute in Chiang Mai city, warning that the military will ‘visit’ them at their homes if they do not stop their political activity. Earlier an editor was detained for flashing the anti-coup symbol in the same incident. 
Damnai Prathanang, a 40-year-old writer, and Sinapan Kerdsanong, a 31-year-old hotel employee, reported themselves at the Chiang Mai Kawila Military camp at 9 am on Sunday after the military searched for them, but failed. A lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights accompanied the two during the interrogation at the military camp and police station.
(From left) Nitipong Samrankong, Sinapan Kerdsanong, and Damnai Prathanang gavethe anti-coup three-fingered salute at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai.
On Friday, the military arrested Nitipong Samrankong, a writer and editor of Burakamin Publishing House. He was released after he signed the military-drafted document. 
Sinapan, Damnai and Nitipong posted a photo of themselves giving the three-fingered salute at Thapae Gate, in Chiang Mai city on Facebook on Thursday night.
At the military camp, the military officer who oversees information asked for their personal information, why they gave the salute, their past political activities, and what they want the military to fix. 
The two answered that they gave the anti-coup symbol to give moral support to the five Khon Kaen student activists, detained for giving the same salute to the junta leader on Wednesday, and proposed to the military that martial law should be lifted. They also said that the right to give the salute is guaranteed under the democratic system. 
Col Phoka Jokloi, the interrogator, told them that they should be patient and be open-minded about the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). If they have any problem, they should send a letter to the Damrongtham Centre, under the Interior Ministry. 
The military added that the martial law cannot be revoked since the anti-coup movement continues. 
The colonel added that if the two do not stop their political activity, they will be prosecuted in the military court and that there will be military officers visiting them at home. 
After interrogation at the camp, the two were taken to Chiang Mai Police Station where they were forced to sign the military-drafted agreement. 
The police wrote on the police daily ledger that the two gave the anti-coup symbol because they were impetuous.