Bangkok : A senior anti-government protest leader was arrested on Monday and charged with sedition for violating Thailand’s emergency law, the first to be held as part a crackdown on the opposition seeking ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Sonthiyarn Chuenruethainaitham, owner and director of T news agency, was arrested from a hotel here under warrants issued by Thai Criminal Court, escalating the country’s three-month-old political crisis. He is among 19 leaders against whom arrests warrants have been issued. Sonthiyarn, the former leader of now-defunct yellow-shirt movement, was charged with sedition. “He will be detained at the police headquarters for seven days for interrogation, and police will then apply to the court to extend his detention for another 30 days,” Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdith said.
The opposition Democrat Party leader Suthep Thaugsuban — the secretary general of the Peoples Democratic Reform Committee which has been holding protests across Bangkok calling for Yingluck to step down — is also facing arrest. Anti-government demonstrators also blocked off several government ministries to press their demand for Yingluck to make way for an unelected ‘People’s Council’ to carry out reforms aimed at curbing the dominance of the Shinawatra clan.