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Students mock PM, protest over Somyos jailing

This paper-mache sculpture was part of yesterday

This paper-mache sculpture was part of yesterday

A small group of young activists led by the son of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, sentenced recently by the Criminal Court to 10 years in jail for lese majeste, yesterday made a scene during a parade ahead of the 69th annual Traditional Football Match between Chulalongkorn and Thammasat universities.

About a dozen men and women, including Thammasat law student Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, held posters with messages criticising Article 112 of the Penal Code involving lese majeste alongside a parade by students from the two universities at Supachalasai Stadium.

Among the messages were "Free Somyos", "Free political prisoners", and "It's a pity Somyos cannot join this football event". However, the event organisers prevented the protesters from merging with the procession. Staff cordoned them off from the parade but there were no reports of any dispute.

The protesters also managed to briefly display a large black banner with a message in white, "Free Somyos", on a stand before the football match began.

Somyos was editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine, which was popular among red shirts and backed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been in self-exile overseas to avoid jail for corruption at home. Somyos was found guilty of publishing articles insulting the monarchy.

During the satirical parade inside the stadium, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government were the main targets of mockery.

Students participating in the satirical parade - for which the annual event is famous - carried large paper-mache figures with messages about political and social issues. A prominent one was a woman's sculpture in pink with the label "Khun Nayok Ha", which could be translated as "Amusing Madam Prime Minister".

The parade also featured other sculptures criticising the government's populist policies and the recent self-censorship by TV Channel 3 in pulling its prime-time drama "Nua Mek 2" off-air for condemning corrupt politicians.


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