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Thai police want court to order persistent activists jailed

BANGKOK (AP) – A Thai court considered Thursday whether to grant a police request to revoke the bail of two top leaders of the burgeoning anti-government protest movement who refuse to stop their public political activities.

Arnon Nampha and Panupong Jadnok were granted bail last month for charges including sedition arising from a protest rally in Bangkok in July. Police say their continued involvement in demonstrations violates the terms of their release and want the court to order them back into custody.

Both men are key figures in the growing protest movement and are among those who are calling for reform of the monarchy, a revered institution that is protected by draconian anti-defamation laws.

Speaking to reporters before the hearing, Arnon said he hopes the court will allow him to walk free but believes that his imprisonment will not deter the movement.

“If there is a political accident that puts me and Mike (Panupong) in jail, I will treat it as a complete proof of our participation in the movement, that we fought the best we could,” Arnon said. “Then, I hope that our imprisonment could serve as an inspiration for those who will continue fighting.”

The growing protests have emerged as the most serious threat to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general whose administration they accuse of incompetence and corruption.

The student-led movement has declared three core demands: holding new elections, amending the constitution and ending the intimidation of critics of the government. Some activists go further, calling for far-reaching reforms to the institution of the monarchy.

The authorities have taken legal actions against more than 30 key figures in the movement in an apparent attempt to decapitate it and stall its momentum.

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