White Dove members held ahead of Chiang Mai rally
Three members of the anti-government group White Dove 2006 were detained for questioning in Chiang Mai's Muang district after the military found documents and CDs with content that was deemed likely to instigate political conflict.
Colonel Wisit Detsakul of the Civil Affairs Division of the 33rd Military Circle said the military had been tipped off that the group was putting up a stage at Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai from which it would attack the Council for National Security.
The detentions come before Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont is scheduled to join a seminar in Chiang Mai with kamnan and local leaders from eight provinces today.
The group, led by Nopparuj Worachiwuthikul, Rithikrai Chaiwannasarn and 20 others, was erecting a tent and a loudspeaker in the area where the 33rd Military Circle and Chiang Mai Municipality were planning to organise a concert yesterday afternoon.
While they were putting up the tent, about 20 soldiers approached and tried to stop them, saying the group did not have permission to use the area. The group protested, accusing the soldiers of violating its freedom of expression. The leading members were detained after trying to distribute the book "Hi Thaksin" about the September 19 coup.
Before being taken for questioning, Nopparuj told reporters that his group had sought permission from the deputy governor and the Third Army Region commander on May 11 to use the site. Its intention was to call on the military to lift martial law, he said.
Police were asked to check the group and detain the three leading members for questioning. The 33rd Military Circle commander also questioned the three.
More than 50 soldiers were put on guard duty at Tha Pae Gate while some members of White Dove 2006 also remained in the area, saying that more of their members from Bangkok would join them later in the evening.