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‘Toto’ Protest leader among 12 arrested for selling prawn to help farmers

Pro-democracy activist Piyarat “Toto” Chongthep, founder of the We Volunteer (Wevo) network of protest guards, was reportedly among a group arrested at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang at around noon on Thursday as they tried to sell over 5 tonnes of fresh prawn.

“The group expected to sell prawns worth over Bt800,000 at Sanam Luang to passers-by during the New Year countdown in a bid to help seafood farmers hit by the Covid-19 crisis in Samut Sakhon, one of Thailand’s largest seafood producing provinces,” said a source

According to witnesses, police confronted Wevo members at 11am and said they were violating the ban on unauthorised public gatherings at Sanam Luang, where selling of products is also prohibited. Police also said that under the current emergency decree, holding a public gathering is punishable by to two years in jail or a Bt40,000 fine.

Police arrested Piyarat and members of his group and took them to Border Patrol Police Region 1 Headquarters in Pathum Thani province for questioning.

Twelve members of Wevo were arrested, according to a Facebook post by rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist Arnon Nampha. One is only 16 years old and is expected to be sent to the Central Juvenile and Family Court, he added.

On December 26, Piyarat and Wevo group sold a tonne of prawns in front of Government House, supervised by police officers there.

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