Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was greeted by hundreds of supporters chanting “Keep fighting, Thanathorn!” as he arrived at a Bangkok police station to answer a summons on complaints of sedition, assisting criminals and illegal assembly filed by a member of the country’s ruling military junta. He denied the charges, which carry a prison sentence of up to nine years.
Thailand has been led by a military government since a 2014 coup. The ruling junta has kept a tight lid on dissent, slapping criminal charges against critics, with some detained for weeks for “attitude adjustment” sessions at military bases in efforts to change their views.
Thailand’s form of government can best be described as “constitutional monarchy for as long as the military leaves it alone.” which isn’t long. The current junta only held “democratic” elections a couple of weeks ago, and at last report the junta’s top general might still hang on to the job of prime minister.
So this crudeness is not a surprise. Thailand’s political class is conquered and forcibly reshaped too often to have developed the more subtle anti-dissent tactics that citizens of more established tyrannies take for granted.