PM urges police to exercise restraint in dealing with protesters

PHOTO: Thai Visa

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has asked police to refrain from using force in their dealings with anti-government protests. He was speaking ahead of yesterday’s rallies at the Democracy Monument in the capital, which saw both pro and anti-government groups face off across Rajdamnoen Avenue.

Most of those protesting are students, with the PM instructing police to exercise restraint in the face of any intentional provocation. Yesterday’s rallies were attended by activists from the Free People movement, who are critical of the government and whose demands include the dissolution of parliament and constitutional reform. They were opposed by the pro-monarchy group, the Network of Vocational Students, led by Sumeth Trakulwoonnoo. He says his group ended their gathering early, concerned that some incidents of provocation might lead to violence. He accuses some Free People members of offending the monarchy, saying his members plan to file a police complaint with police chief Chakthip Chaijinda.

Later that evening, human rights lawyer, Anon Nampa, who is currently out on bail, addressed the crowd. Thammasat University student Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, also out on bail, was also in attendance.

A government spokesman says the PM has expressed his gratitude to the police for their handling of the event, ensuring that it passed off peacefully.

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SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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