At today’s Ratsadon gathering in front of Parliament House, the Royal Thai Police has made it clear: They will file criminal charges against protestors who use inappropriate words that insult, incite, or defame.
The announcement isn’t specific to Article 112, the lese majeste law. Instead, anything the police considered “inappropriate” would be a crime.
This is an example of arbitrary use of power, making up crimes however and whenever the authorities want to harass and abuse the law against protestors.
Here are three other instances in which the police interpret the law as “whatever we want it to be.”
The “mhoo kata” scandal
At the 14 November Ratsadon protest, photos of protestors enjoying a favorite street food dish, “mhoo kata,” (pan-grilled pork), went viral.
The police are currently investigating the matter for crimes against public health and cleanliness.
The Democracy Monument dispute
At the 14 November Ratsadon protest, protestors symbolically draped the Democracy Monument in white cloth.
The police are investigating possible charges over “damaging, destroying, or devaluing a national heritage monument.”
The “duck boat” controversy
On the 17 November protest at Parliament House, actress Sai Chareonpura plans to hire “duck boats” for protestors so that they may demonstrate on the Chao Phraya river.
Parliament house has a river pier believed to have been built specifically for politicians to escape from protestors, drawing from the lesson of past protests before the 2014 coup in which protestors have broken into parliament.
The police have warned that the action will obstruct river traffic and entry/exit to Parliament House. It will cause “endangerment” and, therefore, to be considered against the law. The police will also charge boat owners who rent to Sai.