Thai activists on trial over parliament protest
Ten prominent Thai activists went on trial at Bangkok's Criminal Court on Tuesday over a 2007 protest in parliament against the activities of a junta-appointed legislature.
Wednesday 22 February 2012, 08:57AM
The defendants, who include labour and human rights campaigners, could face up to 20 years each in prison if convicted of charges including causing a public disturbance and trespassing with the use of violence.
The case dates back to a mass demonstration in December 2007 during which dozens of protesters broke into parliament while members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) were meeting and staged a peaceful sit-down.
The activists were calling for the assembly, which was appointed by the military following a 2006 coup that ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, to abandon consideration of controversial bills.
The NLA was disbanded after parliamentary elections were held in 2007.
Meechai Ruchupan, the former speaker of NLA who appeared as a prosecution witness, argued that the activists had acted illegally by invading parliament and trespassing.
The defendants include Jon Ungphakorn, former chairman of the NGO-Coordinating Committee on Development, Sawit Keaw-wan, leader of the Confederation of State Enterprise Labour Union, and Sirichai Maingam, member of the Labour Union of Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.