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9 arrested in Thailand’s sweep against activists - 1 min read

Bangkok: Police in Thailand have arrested nine people in a sweep targeting activists involved in recent anti-government protests, it was reported on Thursday.

Among the nine people arrested on Wednesday was lawyer Anon Nampa, who was charged over a protest at which he called for reform of the monarchy that has long been shielded from criticism under the strict lese-majeste and other laws, the BBC reported.

Thais are taught to respect, revere and love the monarchy, but also to fear the consequences of speaking about it.

Insulting the monarchy in Thailand can mean up to 15 years in jail under the kingdom’s lese-majeste law.

Anon, 36, called for the reform at a Harry Potter-themed protest in Bangkok on August 3.

Among the others detained were activists Baramee Chairat, Suwanna Tarnlek and Korakot Saengyenpanm, and a popular rapper, Dechatorn Bamroongmuang from the group Rap for Democracy, who performed at the July protest at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.

They have been charged with sedition and could face prison sentences of up to seven years.

Activists said they had seen a police list of 20 more facing possible arrest in the near future.

The protesters are demanding dissolution of the government headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who seized power in a 2014 military coup and returned as the country’s civilian premier after a controversial election last year.

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