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PM denies, downplays protesters’ harassment claims

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PHOTO: thaivisa

PM Prayut Chan-ocha today downplayed student protestors’ claims that his government was stalking and harassing them. Student activists, Panusaya (Roong) Sithijirawattanakul, spokesperson for the Thailand Student Union and Parit (Penguin) Chiwarak posted this morning that they were about to be arrested by government authorities at 5am, but no arrests were made.

“Anyone can post anything online. They said they are being followed by officials but have any arrests been made yet?”

Prayut said that if the protesters broke the law the government must prosecute accordingly, but pointed out that many people are against the government enforcing laws on students.

“They should not be using this opportunity to disrupt peace within the society.”

Prayut also played up a right wing media talking point that there were third party funders for the student movement including overseas anti-monarchist groups.

“We have to see if anyone is behind this student movement. They can protest because it is their constitutional right but they should not be breaking any law by doing so.”

Despite receiving instructions from the palace not to use the lèse-majesté law to arrest dissidents, the government has used other means to intimidate student protesters, including security laws enacted to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Other laws have also been used against protest leaders like the charges filed against prominent human rights lawyer Anon Numpa and Nutchanon “Mike” Payakaphan, who the government has said are guilty of inciting sedition.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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