"Yellow Shirt" activists appear in Thai court

Featured South East Asia - April 29th, 2013
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Thailand’s Criminal Court postponed the trial of dozens of royalist activists facing charges for a wave of protests in 2008 that paralyzed Bangkok’s main airports.

Nearly 100 members of the nationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy or “Yellow Shirts” appeared at the Criminal Court on Monday for occupying the airports in protest against allies of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

But some of the defendants did not have legal representation, prompting the court to delay their trial until July 29.

“The defendants have said they want to appoint their own lawyers because they face serious charges with maximum sentence of death penalty. The hearing cannot continue if defendants have no lawyers,” said the presiding judge.

A total of 114 defendants face charges over the 2008 anti-government protests, which included the seizure of two airports, a blockade of parliament and the storming of Government House, AFP reports. The defendants will plead not guilty to the charges, according to lawyer Puangtip Boonsanong, who represents some of the accused.

Key members of the Yellow Shirts, including its founder, media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul, face terrorism charges over their alleged role in the demonstrations.