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Future Forward prepare for probable disbandment by the Thai Constitutional Court

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Future Forward prepare for probable disbandment by the Thai Constitutional Court | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit speaking at the weekend - Facebook/Future Forward Party
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The Future Forward Party is bracing itself for, what they expect, will end up in the disbandment of their political party when the Constitution Court meets tomorrow. Over the weekend the party’s secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul denied accusations that his party is trying to overthrow the Thai regime, an allegation made by Dr. Natthaporn Toprayoon, a former advisor to the chief ombudsman.

Speaking at a seminar at Thammasat University Rangsit Campus over the weekend, “Future is Now”, Piyabutr fired back claiming that the “ones who are trying to target them with these kinds of accusations were those who had violated the constitution.”

Both Thanathorn, the party leader and founder, and Piyabutr, confirmed that they would not give up if the party was dissolved. They have already requested their 60,000 members of Future Forward to register for the new party, assuming that the Court will disband Future Forward tomorrow.

The Constitutional Court will deliver its verdict tomorrow (January 21) at 2pm on what the media call the “Illuminati” case. The case seeks the dissolution of Future Forward Party. The bizarre claims allege that the ‘Illuminati’ is supposedly a secret anti-monarchy group and that Future Forward are somehow involved.

Speaking at the seminar, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, head of Future Forward, presented an economic model under civilian state policies to “fight injustice and the failure of the Thai nation to build a better society”.

During his speech to the seminar, Thanathorn said there was a dependence on foreign investment in the existing economic model in projects such as the Eastern Economic Corridor, high-speed trains and Thailand Riviera is likely to make Thailand grow without technology development.

“The power that comes from the authorities, not the voice of the people, will cause a gap in society. Whether it is an economic gap or a social gap, the development of manpower and technology will meet obstacles that are caused by the economic model.

“We cannot rely on foreign capital which regards Thailand only as a production base.”

“The government should not spend only on projects in Bangkok but also distribute to other provinces.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Protests

Protest planned for courthouse tomorrow as verdict on PM’s residence expected

Maya Taylor

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Protest planned for courthouse tomorrow as verdict on PM’s residence expected | The Thaiger
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The Ratsadon (People’s Party) movement is planning a protest outside the Constitutional Court tomorrow as a verdict is handed down in relation to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s occupancy of a military residence, despite his retirement from the army. The ruling is expected at 3.00pm tomorrow and comes as a result of a petition lodged by opposition MPs in March, in which the PM was accused of a conflict of interest as a result of his residence.

Members of the Pheu Thai Party are leading the charge, claiming the PM should have moved out of the accommodation at the time of his retirement in 2014. For his part, the PM says he’ll move out if the court rules against him, insisting his occupancy of the military residence is not an abuse of power. According to a report in the Bangkok Post today, the military says the property has been re-classified as a “visitor’s house” and says it was provided to the PM for security reasons.

Wirat Ratana­sate from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party says members have not yet discussed a list of potential replacement candidates, should the court’s ruling go against the PM. Were that to happen, it would mean the end of his term as leader and the end of his current cabinet. Wirat remains optimistic however, that the court will find in the PM’s favour.

“We may have to discuss the matter with coalition parties. Still, let’s wait for the court’s ruling. Don’t jump to any conclusion that there will be a political accident. The outcome may turn out to be good.”

Meanwhile, authorities in Bangkok say they’re ready to handle tomorrow’s planned protest outside the courthouse. Pakkapong Pongpetra from the Metropolitan Police Bureau says officers have devised a number of security measures to maintain order during the rally and ensure events inside the courtroom can proceed as normal.

His statement comes as Ramate Rattanachaweng from the Democrat Party issues a warning to anti-government protesters that pressurising the court could lead to charges of contempt of court. He is calling on them to cancel tomorrow’s gathering.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition say they’re confident the court will rule against the PM, with the legal chief of the Pheu Thai Party, Chusak Sirinil, saying the designation of “visitor’s house” does not indicate a permanent residence.

“A visitor’s house is for temporary stays of 7 to 10 days, not forever.”

Prasert Chantararuangthong, also from Pheu Thai, dismisses the army’s explanation that the PM needs to live in a military residence for security reasons, pointing out that the army is not responsible for prime ministerial security. Meanwhile, fellow Pheu Thai MP, Arunee Kasayanont, suggests the PM should pay attention to what the people are demanding and resign immediately, regardless of the verdict.

“General Prayut can make a graceful exit by resigning before Dec 2 and thus respond to the demand of demonstrators.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Protesters suing Thai PM, police and officials over State of Emergency in October

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Protesters suing Thai PM, police and officials over State of Emergency in October | The Thaiger

Protesters and human rights lawyers are officially suing the Thai PM, a deputy PM and other members of the government and police for 3.5 million baht in damages. The lawsuits cover the declaration of a state of emergency that was imposed for a week during October following a major protest where a royal motorcade drove into the path of a protest near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok.

Police claim that protesters “blocked” the path of the royal motorcade, but video of the incident shows the protesters were gesturing at the yellowRolls Royce and yelling at the occupants as it passed by, without obstruction. Her Majesty the Queen and the King’s youngest son were in the vehicle at the time.

There are seven complainants, each demanding 500,000 baht in compensation.

The State of Emergency was announced for Bangkok on October 15, at 4am in the morning following the protest.

Representatives of the Human Rights Lawyers Association filed the lawsuit with the Civil Court yesterday. It lawsuit also targeted the Prime Minister’s Office, national police officials and the Royal Thai Police Office.

Nuengruethai Kijakansuparoek, of the lawyers’ association, claims the declaration violated rights to freedom of politics, transport and expression of opinion. The Association also warns that there are more lawsuits on the way.

“The closure of electric train service was ordered, some demonstrators were arrested and some people were affected by tear gas, and people were unable to voice their political opinions.”

yesterday some 5,000 gathered at the Lad Phrao intersection in an “anti coup picnic” to enjoy food, including Isaan dishes, with protest leaders speaking and musicians keeping the crowd entertained. Protest organisers said it was “a rehearsal protest against coups”.

Protesters handed the “flock” of yellow inflatable ducks over the heads, of the crowd “to represent the military passing over the people” to by-pass democratic rule and be the defacto government of Thailand. An inflatable Santa also made his way into the festivities for no apparent reason (well, Christmas is approaching).

Yesterdays rally was just 2 days after another gathering outside the Siam Commercial Bank HQ, where HM the King is the largest single shareholder in Thailand’s oldest bank, founded in 1907.

Today’s rally will start at the Imperial World Samrong shopping centre, south of central Bangkok, and march to Bang Na intersection. Then tomorrow protesters plan to hold another rally in front of the . Imperial World Samrong shopping centre.

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Protests

Thai PM insists martial law will not be used against protesters

Maya Taylor

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Thai PM insists martial law will not be used against protesters | The Thaiger
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Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he has no intention of resorting to martial law to put an end to the current political unrest, adding that existing laws provide enough scope for dealing with those who take matters into their own hand. The Bangkok Post reports that he was responding to reporters following a US-ASEAN Business Council meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In a democratic world, I cannot get everyone to agree with me. All I can do is to find a way to move forward together to avoid problems in the future.”

The then General Prayut, head of the Thai army, made similar assurances in the latter stages of the Yingluck Shinawatra government before he led the NCPO in a bloodless military coup in May 2014.

Meanwhile, the Ratsadon (People’s Party) group says it’s planning to hold protests over the course of 5 days, without camping overnight. The group has confirmed its intentions in a Line group shared with the media, adding that locations and times will be confirmed on social media.

Responding to a question about the 5-day plan, the PM appeared to take the announcement in his stride.

“Just let them announce it. The law is there to punish anyone who breaks it.”

The announcement comes after a rally at the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank yesterday, which was initially supposed to take place at the Crown Property Bureau. The group changed the location the night before, claiming it did so to avoid royalist groups deliberately sent to provoke them. An explosive device was thrown and gunshots fired injuring 2 protesters. Full report about the incident HERE.

Thousands of pro-democracy activists gathered at the SCB building, which was closed for the day, in the Chatuchak district of the capital. Protest leaders stood on the back of a truck, addressing activists through loudspeakers as they slammed the government. Prominent activist, Parit Chiwarak, aka, “Penguin”, was wearing a yellow duck suit as he held a sign that read, “Citizens Area”.

The use of yellow ducks has become a prominent feature of the anti-government protests. Large rubber ducks were initially deployed to deal with the worst of the water cannons, with protesters using the birds to shield themselves from chemical-laced water and tear gas. But with large yellow ducks also used in Hong Kong’s protests this year, they have become an international symbol of the pro-democracy movement. Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur costumes have also been employed to make political statements about the age and culture of MPs in the ruling Palang Pracharat coalition.

Meanwhile, Penguin is condemning the decision to press charges of lèse majesté against pro-democracy activists, calling it an attempt to leave protest groups without leaders. He says he’s confident the move will backfire, as it will encourage more people to come and attend future protests. At least 12 protesters have been summonsed to face charges, with police saying they plan to summons between 3 – 5 others, who will also be charged.

One of the protesters charged under Section 112 is Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, who was nominated by the BBC as one of their 100 most inspirational women in the world 2020. Read that story HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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