Thailand politician Pita Limjaroenrat sentenced to jail for illegal 2019 opposition rally News
Thailand politician Pita Limjaroenrat sentenced to jail for illegal 2019 opposition rally

A Thai court handed down a suspended sentence on Monday to political figure Pita Limjaroenrat for an illegal rally held in 2019. Limjaroenrat was sentenced alongside seven other individuals involved with his political party, the Move Forward Party (previously the Future Forward Party).

The case centred on a rally led by the then Future Forward Party (FFP) on December 14, 2019, to call for former prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha to resign. It was the largest protest in Thailand since the 2014 military coup, taking place at a key Bangkok intersection, Pathumwam intersection, which was within 150 meters of Pathumwan Palace. The rally impacted train services and prevented the public from using the area.

Following the trial at Pathumwan District Court, eight individuals were sentenced alongside Limjaroenrat. These individuals included business executive Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, member of parliament Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, FFP spokesperson Pannika Wanich, former election candidate of FFP Pairattachote Chantarakajon, Nattha Mahatthana, Thanawat Wongchai and Parit Chiwarak. They all received sentences of two months, suspended for two years due to their lack of criminal record and the political motivation of the rally. The court also fined the individuals 20,200 baht for staging a rally without prior notice and using a loudspeaker without a permit. All those sentenced regarding the rally have stated they wish to appeal the decision.

The Move Forward Party is a popular political party among young voters in Thailand due to its liberal policies, gaining many seats in 2023 but failing to seat its prime ministerial candidate. The party was created after the Constitutional Court dissolved the FFP in February 2020. This trial followed shortly after the Constitutional Court of Thailand held that the Move Forward Party’s attempts to change the country’s royal insult law were illegal.