Thai police arrest lese-majeste protester

Police in Thailand have arrested a university student who had participated in anti-government protests for allegedly insulting the monarchy. A lawyers' group says this is the first time the country's lese-majeste law has been applied to the demonstrators.

The 21-year-old student was arrested on Wednesday night. He is charged with spray-painting roadside portraits of the royal family near Bangkok this month. Police say he wrote the message "abolish the lese majeste law."

He was granted bail on Thursday morning. He said "I am not afraid of being arrested, but I must say this law is being heavily abused by authorities".

Violators of the law can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. The law was frequently used for several years after the coup in 2014. But it has not been applied during the past two years.

The Thai government has tightened its crackdown and has summoned more than 40 protesters for questioning about the law since November.