Thailand/civil unrest: arrest warrants issued for 17 Red Shirt leaders

Local media and officials reported that a Thai court on Friday issued arrest warrants against 17 anti-government Red Shirt leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) on charges of defying the Emergency Decree by seizing Bangkok’s prime commercial area of Ratchaprasong.

Reportedly, prominent UDD leaders Veera MusikapongNattawut SaikuaWeng TojirakarnAdisorn PiengkatKwanchai Praipana and General Khattiya Sawadipol are among the 17 accused. Seven warrants had already been issued on Thursday evening against the UDD leaders who had violated the Internal Security Act (ISA) by storming the Parliament.

Despite the state of emergency, thousands of Red Shirts are meanwhile marching to two Thaicom satellite stations in Bangkok’s neighbouring Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi provinces, in a response to the government’s decision to shut down the pro-Red Shirts People’s TV (PTV).

Thai authorities meanwhile announced that the state of emergency would be strictly upheld, meaning that the security forces may use batons, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse groups of more than 5 people.