Asia Pacific

Thai court grants bail to 4 protest leaders held over unrest

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Demonstrators hold a protest for the government's handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Bangkok, Thailand August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

BANGKOK, Sept 15 (Reuters) - A court in Thailand granted bail on Wednesday to four leaders of an anti-government protest movement, their lawyer said, after more than a month in pre-trial detention over unrest at recent demonstrations against the prime minister.

The student-led rallies have gathered steam since late June, when the movement that sought army-backed premier Prayuth Chan-ocha's removal last year returned with broader support from other political groups and people angered by a worsening coronavirus crisis.

There are 767 people facing charges relating to protests since July, with 522 arrested so far, according to police, who have used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to break up several of the recent demonstrations.

Panupong "Mike Rayong" Jadnok, Phromsorn "Fah" Weerathamjaree, Chartchai Kaedum and Nutchanon Pairoj were arrested after an Aug. 2 protest and the granting of their bail followed seven unsuccessful requests.

"The four will be release under the condition that they have to wear EM (electronic monitoring) ankle bracelets," Krisadang Nutcharat, one of their lawyers, told Reuters.

Another protest leader Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak was also given bail but was remanded in custody over charges related to protests last year, his lawyer said. Several other core leaders remain in detention awaiting trial.

Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty

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