CHIANG RAI – The Chiang Rai Provincial Court has approved arrest warrants for three red shirt leaders, two men and a woman, in connection with banners containing North separatist messages at two locations in the northern province.
The three are Thanormsri Narmrat, Ood Sooktago and Sooksiam Jormtarn, all active in Mae Suai district under the name “Mae Suai Group Loves Democracy”.
They are accused of masterminding the erection of a cloth banner which read “This country has no justice, we want to separate as Lanna country” on a pedestrian bridge in front of Central Plaza shopping mall in Muang district on Feb 26 and another at a market in tambon Pa Kor Dam of Mae Lao on Feb 28.
After the first separatism banner was placed on Feb 26, police said, the group mobilized people to cheer on then-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra who visited Chiang Rai the next day to follow up drugs suppression operations.
The warrants for their arrests were issued after army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha in March ordered the 3rd Army, in charge of the North, to file a lawsuit against red-shirt network leaders in northern provinces for alleged separatism after cloth banners sprung up in several areas there which were interpreted by some as campaigning for a separate state.