Key Thai Activist Out of Jail Vows to Press for Monarchy Reform

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A top Thai pro-democracy activist, who was detained for three months for alleged royal defamation, said he will “continue to fight for monarchy reform” after a court released him on bail.

Parit Chiwarak, one of more than a dozen anti-government protesters who have been detained on lese majeste and sedition charges, said he’s “ready to participate in every protest after the current wave of outbreak ends.”

Parit spent 93 days in detention, and was on a hunger strike for the last 57 days before his release late Tuesday. His release came about a week after another prominent leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, was granted bail following her two months in detention.

The youth-led protest movement last year -- calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha and overhaul of the constitution -- drew hundreds of thousands of participants and broke long-held taboos on publicly criticizing the royal institution. But it was hampered by a resurgence in virus outbreaks this year and a government crackdown on protesters.

At least 15 activists are currently in detention awaiting trials, including four leaders who are facing lese majeste charges, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights data on May 11.

A call to the Bureau of the Royal Household on Wednesday went unanswered, but it has previously said that it doesn’t give comments to the press.

Although the court has prohibited Parit from insulting the monarchy and inciting riots while out on bail, he said that the call for reform didn’t constitute defamation of the monarchy and that he has always adhered to the principle of nonviolence.

“The fight for democracy will continue with intensity and strength,” he wrote on Facebook. “Our fight is based on truth because no power is greater than the truth.”

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