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Thailand anti-coup protest organizers could be detained for weeks: police

[JURIST] Thailand may continue to hold eight leaders of last Saturday's anti-coup protest for up to 48 days, a Thai police official told Reuters Saturday. Colonel Supisarn Bhakdinarinath said that police are authorized to hold suspects without charge for 12 days, and are allowed to request up to three extensions from a court. The eight protest leaders, anti-coup academics and supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], were arrested Thursday as a result of an ongoing police investigation of the protest, which turned violent [AP report] after approximately 5,000 protesters were prevented from marching to the home of Prem Tinsulanonda [official website], a retired army general who was allegedly involved in planning last-September's coup [JURIST report]. All eight have denied charges of wrongdoing and have refused bail.

On Monday, a police spokesperson announced that six anti-coup protesters will be charged [JURIST report] with disturbing the peace, injuring police, and destroying government property. The anti-coup protesters also voiced their opposition to the interim-government's proposed draft constitution [JURIST report], which is scheduled for a general referendum on August 19. Thai police did not rule out detaining all eight anti-coup leaders until after the referendum. Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official profile; BBC profile] has ordered government officials to promote support for the draft [Bangkok Post report]. If the draft constitution is rejected by popular referendum, military leaders are authorized under the interim constitution to revise an earlier constitution. Reuters has more.

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