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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 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

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

    Wednesday, 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

    Wednesday, 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

    Wednesday, 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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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

Bangkok

Independent candidates polling well in Bangkok governor race

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Independent candidates polling well in Bangkok governor race | Thaiger
PHOTO: Chadchard Sittipunt currently leads in Bangkok governor polls

Independent candidates are trending in polls for the Bangkok governor election later this year, with undecided voters leaning independent. Undecided voters have grown to nearly 1/3 of all voters up from just under 30% in March, possibly due to voters being tired of political polarisation. The exact date of the election has not been announced yet but independent candidates have jumped into the race before the major party candidates. Three have announced so far, former senator and rights activist Rossana Tositrakul, former national Police Chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda and former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt. Though many are still undecided, Chadchart seems to be the early favourite pulling 25% support in a recent poll while Chakthip earned just 12%, a lead that seems to be widening.

Bangkok voters traditionally did not vote independent, but rather along party lines, though they are known to decide last minute basing their choice on immediate factors. Surveys show that voters tend to make their decisions less than 5 days before elections normally. In the last election for governor in 2013, Sukhumbhand Paribatra performed badly in polls and yet won in the last minute vote after accusations that his opponent had plans to nominate red-shirt leaders.

Political analysts were not shocked with Chadchart’s dominance in the polls, but are also unconvinced that he can maintain his lead when the major party candidates enter the Bangkok governor election cycle. They believe that candidates from Kao Klai Party or the Progressive Movement, both splinters from the Future Forward Party, would offer formidable opposition. The Future Forward Party sprung to the spotlight in 2019, gaining 6 million votes in the country, 800,000 of which were from Bangkok, making it the third-largest party. There is a rumour that Parit “Itim” Wacharasindhu, the co-founder of the Progressive Constitution Group, might run under one of these two parties. His pro-democracy leanings may pull a lot of voters away from Chadchart.

The poll in March showed that 66% of Bangkok voters favoured independent candidates now and are leaning away from major party affiliations. The results are thought to indicate Bangkok residents’ frustration in extremely polarized political parties. Elections began 4 months ago in provinces, aside from Bangkok and Pattaya, considered special administrative zones.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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London’s anti-coup Burmese Ambassador locked from embassy

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London’s anti-coup Burmese Ambassador locked from embassy | Thaiger
Kyaw Zwar Minn, Burmese Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2013.

In London, the Myanmar Ambassador has been tossed from his own embassy, locked out because of his stance against the military junta in his country. The lockout occurred as a result of Kyaw Zwar Minn’s breaking ranks with the Burmese military leadership and calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader who was jailed when the military coup overran the country. Military leaders inside the London embassy are believed to be responsible for locking Ambassador Kyaw out of the embassy. The Burmese Ambassador had previously drawn praise by British foreign minister Dominic Raab for his courage in standing against the military coup, calling for the release of Suu Kyi and the elected President Win Myint and standing for pro-democracy causes. The United Kingdom have sanctioned the Burmese military and some of its business interests in response to the military coup and the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, calling for a return of democratic rule to the conflicted country.

Speaking outside the embassy where police were waiting and guarding watchfully, Kyaw spoke with protesters saying he’d been locked out of his own building and that he was waiting to go back inside. He says he has been in touch with Britain’s foreign ministry about the situation, but no action or formal statements have been made yet. He referred to it as a coup in the middle of London, referring to the fact that his building was now occupied by military leaders inside. It is believed that deputy ambassador Chit Win has taken control of the embassy with a military attaché and locked the building to their own diplomat.

The British foreign office has not commented yet on the incident, but the police did release a statement saying they’re aware of the protest going on regarding the Burmese Ambassador and that police are present and watching but have not made any arrests or taken any action at this time.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Taiwan ready to duke it out if China attacks

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Taiwan ready to duke it out if China attacks | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Taiwan officials say they are ready to duke it out if China decides to take its military activities a step further. The announcement, made by its foreign minister, comes after China has stepped up its aircraft carrier drills near the island along with other military activities in the past few months.

“From my limited understanding of American decision makers watching developments in this region, they clearly see the danger of the possibility of China launching an attack against Taiwan. We are willing to defend ourselves without any questions and we will fight the war if we need to fight the war. And if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

Washington, Taiwan’s most important international ally has been pushing for Taiwan to modernise its military and spend more on defence in order to make it harder for China to successfully attack the island.

“The defence of Taiwan is our responsibility. We will try every way we can to improve our defence capability.”

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said they will run 8 days of computer-aided war games this month which would simulate a Chinese attack on Taiwan. The Han Kuang exercises are the island nation’s largest annual war games. The next phase of the games will include live firing drills, according to general Liu Yu-Ping.

“The drills are designed based on the toughest enemy threats, simulating all possible scenarios on an enemy invasion on Taiwan.”

Taiwan has not indicated if the Chinese carrier group is planning to go to the South China Sea, which is a disputed territory where a US carrier group is operating. But deputy defence minister Chang Che-ping says Taiwan is closely monitoring the carrier’s movements, saying that, for now, it seems the carrier is just doing routine drills.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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