Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, formerly the Secretary-General of the disbanded Future Forward Party, was visible on Wednesday night, some hours ahead of the government crackdown early on Thursday morning, when he appeared at Government House then surrounded by protesters and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha.

Police walked in on a press conference at the Thai Summit building in Bangkok on Friday as the cofounder of the Progressive Movement and arch political foe of this government, Mr Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, was giving a press conference outlining his views on the latest developments during Thailand’s current political crisis.

Progressive Movement leader and government arch-foe Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, former Secretary-General of the disbanded Future Forward Party, talks with a police officer who arrived during his press conference at the Thai Summit Building in Bangkok on Friday.

A Thai police officer executing a search warrant walked into a room within the Thai Summit Building in Bangkok on Friday as the Secretary-General of the Progressive Movement was giving a press conference.

The officer from Makkasan Police Station told Mr Piyabutr, formerly the Secretary-General of the now-defunct Future Forward Party, that he was simply doing his duty under the new emergency decree issued on Thursday morning.

Former Future Forward leader and arch-foe of the current government surprised by police visit

‘I am here to check on law and order within my jurisdiction,’ the policeman announced. He then left the room where Mr Piyabutr had been speaking to the press from the podium before later returning.

The political activist, formerly an MP, a respected law professor and for a time, the leader of the disbanded Future Forward Party in the Thai parliament, appeared outside of Government House on Wednesday night as it was surrounded by protesters and called for the resignation of the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan ocha, just hours before the government crackdown. 

He was addressing assembled journalists on Friday when he encountered the police officer.

Mr Piyabutr spoke against the government’s actions and crackdown as well as the charges brought against two protesters over a royal motorcade

Mr Piyabutr was highly critical of the government’s actions on Thursday. He also spoke about the legal proceedings issued against protesters who were arrested on Thursday under Section 110 of the Thai Criminal Code after causing offence to Her Majesty Queen Suthida as her motorcade approached Government House in Bangkok at the height of Wednesday’s protest activity in the city.

Mr Piyabutr spoke at length to the police officer when he returned. The political activist even took the opportunity to invite the policeman to join the cause of the protest movement instead of diligently following his orders from above.

Police search warrant under new provisions

It is understood that police had obtained a search warrant to gain access to the corporate building in the centre of Bangkok owned by the family of former Future Forward leader Mr Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and which serves as the headquarters for the successful firm built up by Mr Thanathorn’s now-deceased father.

The new emergency law, issued on Thursday morning and which was endorsed by the cabinet on Friday, gives police and government officials sweeping powers to thwart and bring to a halt any activity deemed to be a threat to national security, at this time.

Get all our latest stories, follow Thai Examiner on Facebook here

Further reading:

Rally’s march on Government House surprises officials with a larger turnout and police in retreat

Police arrest 21 protesters in Bangkok attempting to block the road to be used for planned Royal motorcade

Smaller crowd expected at rally on Wednesday as police gear up security cordon with checkpoints

Police say students have no permission to protest as army chief warns that security will be upheld

New army chief takes the helm this week amid growing tensions and rising public apathy toward politics

Criminal charges likely against student leaders as mysterious ‘People’s Party’ plaque goes missing

Students submit a reform petition to the Privy Council, call for a General Strike in Thailand on October 14th

March on government to go ahead on Sunday as rally organisers appear to focus on the monarchy reform plans

Western foreigners being blamed by ultra-right for this latest wave of radical student protests

Raised concerns for the defiant student protest being planned for next Saturday and Sunday

Exasperated PM loses patience with press corps over ‘distorted’ online speculation of a coup amid tensions

Army chief denies and rejects rumours of a likely coup as the country faces crisis on key fronts

Shock resignation of Minister of Finance a sign of more politics being demanded in government

Thailand stuck in a ‘vicious cycle’ which will lead to further military coups says leading academic

New ministers take the reins in a formal audience with King Rama X & Queen Suthida at Dusit Palace

New cabinet lineup in Royal Gazette but economic damage now extending into parts of the property market

Warning signs in new banking and employment reports as virus crisis hits Thailand’s bottom line hard

Thailand may have to live with the virus but can recover in two years says outgoing central bank chief

June export figures show a 23% decline on last year but the economy will recover by end of 2021

Prime Minister indicates that the cabinet reshuffle will be complete very shortly with no problem

Somkid ready to bow out of government as September cabinet reshuffle seems to be on the cards

Plans to relaunch tourism from China thrown out as conflicting reports emerge of a new swine flu virus threat

Election of a new ruling party leader, shifts focus now to the future of the economics czar Somkid and his team

Banks ordered to cease dividends and shore up balance sheets on fears of loan quality erosion due to slump

Thai economy in even greater peril as Covid 19 shutdown appears to have had a bigger impact than expected

Election of Prawit as Palang Pracharat leader will see more grassroots politics in government

Emergency decree extended by Thai government but politics behind the scenes abuzz with PPP party heave

92% of suicides due to the virus are among the self-employed according to expert research group in academia

Government moves to clarify that it is not seeking cash from the kingdom’s richest business leaders in overture

Pheu Thai MP calls on Prime Minister to resign as index shows a collapse in business confidence to a 9 year low

Polls show the public becoming more polarised as Deputy PM assures public there is nothing to worry about