BANGKOK: Thai police arrested activist lawyer Anon Nampa on Wednesday (Aug 19) over an Aug 3 protest at which he called for reform of the powerful monarchy, the second time he has been arrested this month, a police officer said.
Anon, 36, has been at the forefront of a movement that has staged protests almost daily for the past month in Thailand. He was the first to call openly for changes to King Maha Vajiralongkorn's role, breaking a longstanding taboo.
Anon had been charged with sedition, said the officer, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media. He did not give further details. Neither Anon, who already has several other cases pending against him, nor his lawyer were available for comment.
Police said earlier they had warrants for Anon and five other activists. They had all been at an event where a call was made for reforms to the monarchy as well as broader demands for a new Constitution and elections and an end to the harassment of government opponents.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former military leader who rejects activists' accusations that last year's election was manipulated to keep him in power, said he acknowledged student demands but they should not touch the monarchy.
"There are 67 million Thais," Prayut told reporters. "I believe the majority do not agree with the protesters."
Demonstrators challenging the monarchy say greater democracy is impossible without changes that would limit the king's constitutional role in a country that has had 13 successful coups since absolute monarchy ended in 1932.
The Royal Palace has not responded to the demands.
Insulting the monarchy can lead to a 15-year jail sentence, but Prayut has said the king had requested no prosecutions under the lese majeste laws for now. Sedition carries a term of up to seven years.