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Thai royalists must reconsider tactics in dealing with free speech

Sending a man to a psychiatric hospital is no way to respond to reasonable protest

| Thailand
Protesters gather in front of the Democracy Monument on July 18: over 2,000 mostly young people called for constitutional changes, referencing Tiwagorn Vithiton: "Losing faith is not insanity."   © AP

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is an associate professor at Kyoto University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

When Thai police detained 47-year-old engineer Tiwagorn Vithiton, who lives in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, on July 9, they bundled him off to a psychiatric hospital. The apparent reason, widely reported in the media, was suspected insanity after he posted pictures of himself in a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "I'm losing faith in the monarchy."

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