Mysterious signs urging unity appear on eve of Yingluck ruling

A sign is seen in Bangkok on Thursday.(Photo from Twitter )

Dozens of big signs with the message “no disunity, no fracture” appeared in Bangkok on Thursday, a day before a much-anticipated court ruling in a case against ousted, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Police said they had no idea who put up the signs or why, and there was no confirmation the call for unity was issued in anticipation of the Friday ruling, which could see Thailand’s first woman prime minister jailed for 10 years on charges of mismanaging a multi-billion-dollar rice-subsidy scheme.

No matter which way the ruling goes, it will be a landmark in more than a decade of sometimes-violent struggle for power between rival factions.

The ruling military has said more than 3,000 of Ms Yingluck’s supporters could show up at the court in what would be one of the biggest political gatherings since her government was ousted in a 2014 coup. Thousands of policemen will be on duty.

Ms Yingluck, who has denied wrongdoing and has said she is the victim of political persecution, appealed in a Facebook statement on Thursday for supporters not to go to the court but to watch proceedings from home instead.

Nevertheless, with fears of a return of the street violence that has erupted regularly over the years, the reason for the signs, to many people in Bangkok, was clear.

“We don’t know if this is related to the Yingluck trial or not. We can’t comment but you can make your own deductions,” an officer at Lumpini police station told Reuters.

City officials said they would take down the signs because they had been put up without permission.

Police would investigate but were unlikely to press charges, a senior officer said.

“The message on display on the signs is positive. It does not cause public disorder and is not considered a breach of the government’s order,” Maj Gen Panurat Lakboon, deputy city police commissioner, told Reuters, referring to a military government ban on public displays of political activity.

“We are unlikely to press charges on this but will check the security cameras to find out who is responsible.”

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