Thai election officials bar the door to buccaneer activist

September 28, 2018

A pro-democracy political party leader Sombat Boonngamanong dresses as a pirate holds a card in protest reading "Election Commission" Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. Thailand's election commission held a meeting Friday inviting all prospective political parties to hear its terms for elections scheduled for early next year, but barred Sombatt from attending for wearing the costume. (AP Photo)

BANGKOK (AP) — A publicity-savvy activist in Thailand seeking to run in an upcoming election has learned one of the unwritten rules of his country’s politics: pirates need not apply.

Sombat Boonngamanong, who recently established his own party, sought to attend a meeting of the state Election Commission where the rules for the polls were being explained, but was barred because he was wearing orange construction overalls and a pirate’s hat with skull and crossbones.

He said his attire was a reference to so-called pirate parties that originated in Europe and promote freedom of expression and civil liberties. He said he donned construction clothing because, after four years of military rule, Thailand needed repairing.

Thailand has been under military rule since a coup in 2014 ousted an elected government.

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