“We Walk For Friendship” marchers charged with defying NCPO order

Eight long marchers of the People Go Network grassroot group were on Tuesday (Jan 23) charged by the military for defying the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief’s order 3/2558 which bans public gathering of more than five people.

The eight activists were also ordered by the military to report themselves to Khlong Luang police station in Pathum Thani on Jan 28 to acknowledge the charges against them.  

The activists included Mr Lertsak Kumkongsak, Mr Anusorn Unnano, Mr Nimit Tienudom, Mr Somchai Krachangsaeng, Ms Sangsiri Treemanka, Mrs Nutchanart Taenthong, Mr Ubon Yoowa and Mr Chamnong Nuphan.

The eight People Go Network members started their 450-km long march on Jan 20 from Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus to their destination in  Khon Kaen province to highlight the impacts from the government’s policies on social security, agriculture, natural resources and environment and free expressions.

However, police blocked from leaving the campus and tried to persuade them to call off their long march, claiming that this was against NCPO chief’s order no. 3/2558 and also their march might be disrupted by “third hand” elements.

After failed negotiations, the group went ahead with their long march. In the meantime, other members of the group filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court accusing the Royal Thai Police of violations of their freedom and right to gather peacefully. 

People Go Network’s lawyer, Surachai Trongngam, insisted that the long march activity does not violate the NCPO chief’s order no. 3/2558 and that NCPO officials had over-interpreted the order to silent the people.