Senior protest leader Sonthiyarn Cheunruethainaitham arrested in Thailand
Sonthiyarn Cheunruethainaitham is the first key anti-government protester to be arrested in Thailand's three-month-old political conflict
Monday 10 February 2014
Thai police have made their first arrest of a senior leader of anti-government protests for violating the country's emergency law as government officials promised to apprehend other leaders of the movement, too.
The arrest further heightens tensions in Thailand's three-month-old political conflict in which protesters seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have shut down major intersections across Bangkok. Government officials have been threatening for weeks to arrest protest leaders.
Police arrested Sonthiyarn Cheunruethainaitham, the former managing director of news company Tnews, known for its anti-government views, said Department of Special Investigation's director-general Tharit Pengdit. He described Sonthiyarn as "a chief-of-staff" for the movement and "second most important figure" after protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban.
"We will continue arresting more protest leaders who have violated the law in the same way," Tharit said.
Arrest warrants have been issued for 19 leaders of the anti-government protests on the charges of violating the special law and authorities on Monday were seeking the court's approval for 13 other leaders on the same charges.
The arrest happened just hours after six street cleaners were injured — two seriously — by a small explosion at a protest site in downtown Bangkok. At least 10 people have been killed and scores hospitalized during the political upheaval.
The demonstrators, who mostly draw their support from the urban middle and upper class and those in the south, want Yingluck to step down to make way for an interim appointed government to implement what they say are necessary reforms to fight corruption.
She has refused to resign, arguing she was elected by a large majority and is open to reform, but that such a council would be unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Her government invoked the emergency decree last month following increasing attacks at protest sites prior to the Feb. 2 general election, allowing authorities to ban public gatherings, impose curfews and censor local news reports. The emergency decree, in effect for 60 days, also gives police expanded powers to make arrests, conduct searches and seize suspicious materials.
Sonthiyarn was apprehended at a hotel in northern Bangkok and is being held for questioning at a border patrol police base in the capital's northern outskirts. Under the state of emergency, a suspect can be held for 30 days without being charged, but police must seek request for detention every seven days.
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 2 Greggs Google fail: bakery falls afoul of search engine's algorithms with 'unofficial' logo
- 3 Is this the end of apps? New research says a third of us don't bother to download
- 4 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 5 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior DBA (SQ...
£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...
£60000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Global leading Energy Tra...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...