Belfast Telegraph

Thai protesters give out sandwiches

Activists protesting against last month's military coup in Thailand face a possible two-year jail term if they get too strident, so they have found a new way - handing out "sandwiches for democracy".

A small group of student activists from Bangkok's Thammasat University had hoped to hold a picnic rally, but they found the park next to their campus sealed off by the authorities.

Instead they paraded down a nearby street, handing out sandwiches and cakes to anyone who wanted them. One older man accompanying them shouted to onlookers: "Sandwiches for democracy!"

Other anti-coup activists have held silent public readings of symbolic works such as Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell's indictment of totalitarianism.

But the intimidation level is high, with the authorities rolling out thousands of troops and police whenever they anticipate a protest. Those charged with breaching the junta's regulation against stirring up unrest are liable to be tried before a court martial.

One of the organisers of the picnic-turned-sandwich protest said the activists have to get creative if they are going to stay out of jail.

"We are scared, but we are still trying to fight," said political science student Sirawith Seritiwat. "The situation now forces us to significantly adapt our methods."

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