A protester who stripped naked in front of riot police will be charged with indecent exposure among other crimes.
Maj. Gen. Piya Tawichai of the Metropolitan Police Bureau said on Wednesday that Worawan Sae-aung or “Auntie Pao” faces a THB5,000 fine if found guilty of public nudity after she stripped naked to protest police brutality at an anti-government rally in Bangkok.
She also faces counts of public nudity and violating the emergency decree over Tuesday’s protest at Nang Loeng Intersection
While provoking disgust from the pro-government side, Worawan’s nude act was cheered by others.
“[She] is one of the people who fought until they didn’t know how to fight anymore and decided to leave nudity as the last weapon that can irritate government officials,” tweeted Kanokrat Lertchoosakul, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University.
“A lot of people think it’s inappropriate, because this coconut shell country sees naked bodies as unacceptable,” wrote Facebook user Pattarin Por. “So strange though that when police drag, stomp, chase, shoot and injure young protesters, children and elderly, it’s not against the Buddhist country’s morals?”
According to Piya, the police have arrested 633 people since July who were involved in the pro-democracy movement.
Known as an outspoken elderly activist who is a familiar sight at protests, the 67-year-old “auntie” was arrested Aug. 11 at a Victory Monument protest for violating the emergency decree, which at the time banned gatherings of more than five people, and allegedly assaulting police officers. She was released two days later on a THB35,000 bond.
Nudity has been taken up as a statement against police brutality worldwide. Last year, a protester nicknamed “Naked Athena” confronted police officers during an anti-racism demonstration in Portland, Oregon, by stripping naked and performing yoga and dance poses. In the same year, feminist group Femen in Ukraine staged a naked protest outside the Polish embassy in Kiev to support abortion rights.