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Thai police arrest student leader over anti-government protest

Thai police arrest student leader over anti-government protest
epa08630810 Thai students and pro-democracy activists march to Samran Rat police station in Bangkok, Thailand, 28 August 2020. Fifteen student pro-democracy activist movement leaders were accompanied by supporters when they marched to Samran Rat police station where they were summoned to by police. The charges brought against the 15 activists include violating the emergency decree as well as traffic, cleanliness and disease control laws. EPA-EFE/NARONG SANGNAK

BANGKOK, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Thai police arrested a student leader on Tuesday as part of a continued crackdown against political activists who helped organize an anti-government protest in July, a police officer told Reuters.

Jutatip Sirikhan, 21, the president of the Student Union of Thailand, was arrested by a plain-cloth police officer while she was in a taxi traveling to a university in Bangkok, a video shot by Jutatip and posted on her personal Facebook page showed.

The officer identified himself as a member of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police in the video before citing a court’s arrest warrant.

“We are acting on an arrest warrant for the July 18 protest,” a police officer at Samranrat police station in Bangkok said by telephone.

Jutatip will be charged with breaching internal security and coronavirus regulations banning public gathering among other charges, the officer said.

Student groups have rallied almost daily across the country since July 18, calling for a new constitution and an end to military influence over Thai politics after a disputed election last year kept former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as Prime Minister five years after he first took power in a 2014 military coup.

Some protesters have also called for reform on the monarchy, until recently a taboo subject in Thailand, which has strict punishments for perceived royal insults.

Police have arrested more than a dozen people, including student leaders, rappers and activists for holding protests since July.

Those arrested so far have all been released on bail. (Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um Editing by Ed Davies)

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