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PM planning to hear protesters’ grievances, expresses unease over certain demands

Maya Taylor

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PM planning to hear protesters’ grievances, expresses unease over certain demands | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says his administration is willing to hold a forum this month to give anti-government protesters a chance to air their grievances. But he’s drawn a line in the sand about the airing of “certain demands” for reform, viewed by some as criticism of the Thai monarchy. The PM is urging those protesting to remain within the boundaries of the law, warning them that they are not immune to prosecution otherwise.

His remarks come following a large rally on Monday night at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus, just north of Bangkok. According to a report in Khaosod English, the PM accuses those in attendance of having gone too far. He says the university must take responsibility, while pointing out that the media also has a role to play.

“I’m monitoring every development and I’m not comfortable. It’s their right to protest, but this one has gone out of line. Answer me, the media must also suggest how to keep our country in order and overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together. Is it appropriate? What should we do? Where is the law? Don’t say that we use law to oppress them since everyone must be prosecuted if they violated the law.”

Since mid-July, anti-government protests have been gaining momentum around the country, with activists citing 3 demands: the dissolution of parliament and new elections, constitutional reform, and an end to the intimidation of government critics. Around 10,000 protesters showed up at the Thamassat University rally, making it one of the largest so far, although police dispute the figure, claiming only about 2,500 were in attendance.

Following the PM’s criticism the deputy dean of the university, has issued an apology, saying that while the university did give permission for the rally to be held, such events must take place within the confines of the law. He adds that in future, such rallies will be more closely vetted.

“Organisers should exercise caution on sensitive matters that could lead to social division. As it appeared that some of the contents crossed the line, myself as the deputy dean who approved the assembly can’t deny responsibility for what happened.”

However, protest leader Jutatip Sirikhan, from the Student Union of Thailand, says the university gathering was not connected to the 3 demands of anti-government protesters, adding that the government will be the primary target at a rally being held at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok this Sunday (nice free plug!).

“We will be focusing on the new charter. If the new constitution is drafted, anything can be said.”

No arrests have resulted from the Thamassat rally at this stage, police say they continue to monitor developments. They are believed to be focusing in particular on the activities of human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, and student activist Panupong Jadnok, both of whom are out on bail and are reported to have attended both the Thamassat gathering and another protest in Chiang Mai province.

SOURCE: Khaosod English | Thai PBS World

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 12, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Yes this PM, will especially express unease over the students demand that he must go.
    This meeting is just a fake show of how fair the present government is.
    They will listen, nod, wahs all round, and do nothing.
    One week later they will be arresting protesters.

  2. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    August 12, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    The thing they have to be careful about is affects on the Thai economy, everything depends on economics.

  3. Avatar

    Paco

    August 12, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    I do not think they do anything wrong the protesters. Think government completely wrong in many aspects.. like the discrimination matter against foreigners also not doing anything about it.. in reality better ask what are they doing??? NOTHING

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Thailand

100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’

Caitlin Ashworth

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100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’ | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

The parliament president says he told staff to “hurry up” the process for verifying more than 100,000 signatures supporting a new constitution amendment bill proposed by a nonprofit organisation and backed by pro-democracy activists. Activists hope the process speeds up so the bill can be scheduled on the agenda for the next parliamentary session.

The draft, proposed by Internet Law Reform Dialogue, or iLaw, was sent to parliament last week along with signatures from more than 100,000 supporters. Parliament president Chuan Leekpai says staff are working on getting all of the signatures verified and even asked staff to “hurry up.” He says they have 45 days to verify the signatures. 50,000 valid signatures are required to have the draft considered by parliament.

The activists have been demanding a rewrite of the 2017 constitution for months.One of the proposed changes would require senators and local administrators. Currently, Thailand’s Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party.

Those opposing changes to the constitution also spoke up last week. A Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against changes.

Verifying the names is a lengthy process and Chuan doesn’t know exactly how long it will take. Half of the names on the iLaw bill have received initial verification, according to parliament advisor Sukit Atthopakorn.

After initial verification, the approved names are then forwarded to the Department of Provincial Administration to make sure they are eligible voters. The last step would calling each person to confirm they signed their name in support of the bill.

6 other amendment bills introduced by other political parties are already being discussed and a committee has been step up to review the bills, according to Democrat Party spokesperson Rames Ratanachaweng. He says those discussions won’t affect the iLaw bill.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Nation Thailand

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Politics

PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government

Maya Taylor

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PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandnews.co

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha has rubbished rumours that the ruling coalition parties plan to join forces with the opposition Pheu Thai party to form a new government. While the PM initially didn’t respond to the question, instead bidding reporters a good day and walking away, he did mumble that he had enough of a headache with just one party.

Thai PBS World reports that Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwan, also dismissed the question, accusing the media of being behind the speculation, as he pointed a finger at reporters gathered at Government House.

“You go and ask the one who spread the rumour.”

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda has dismissed rumours he’s planning to set up a political party with the PM and interior Permanent Secretary, Chatchai Promlert. Anupong says he’s no political expert and has never considered creating a political party.

Since July, anti-government protests have been taking place around the country, with activists calling for the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of Parliament, and for fresh elections to be held.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Majority in survey say now is the time to share ideas to solve conflicts

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Majority in survey say now is the time to share ideas to solve conflicts | The Thaiger

A majority of those surveyed in a recent Suan Dusit Rajabhat University poll say now is the time to work together to solve the conflicts that are plaguing the country. The poll, known as the Suan Dusit Poll, was conducted online from September 23-25, asked for opinions on the long-standing conflicts in Thailand.

1,263 online netizens responded with a large majority-almost 92% saying now is the time for all who are concerned to come together to brainstorm ideas on how to resolve the conflicts. The rest of the respondents, around 8%, said other things. Each respondent was given more than one allowed answer when asked for suggestions of how to fix the issues with almost 89% saying the government should be open to all opinions. Almost 88% said there should not be any violence, 82% said no double-standards, 74% said forums should be held nationwide to allow opinions, and 69% wanted the parties involved in the conflicts to take a step backward.

However, the question of who should lead the country in resolving these issues was split closely between pollsters wanting core members and representatives of different groups, the prime minister, and the people. Only around 13% pointed towards the government sector as taking the lead and lastly, around 9% pointing to the students and youth.

A majority of respondents, about 75%, agree that the brainstorming would be successful with almost 25% saying it would be unlikely to be successful. Such a poll comes after major anti-government student protests at Bangkok’s Thammasat University have rocked the nation, with some saying, for the first time, the rallies have thwarted the Lese Majeste laws in place that have historically put a muzzle on free speech and criticisms of the monarchy and King. Such protests have led to the arrestsof those leading the movement especially after a plaque was placedat the Grand Palace declaring that “Thailand belongs to the people.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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