Connect with us


Student Union denies protests are being engineered by opposition Thai politicians




The Student Union of Thailand has hit back at a suggestion from “royalist” groups that political activists are being manipulated by politicians. Spokesperson Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul says it is the students themselves who are organising everything, including coming up with a 10 point manifesto, which includes a controversial call for reform of the Thai Monarchy.

Last month, Panusaya read out the manifesto at a rally of around 1,000 students at the Rangsit Campus of Thammasat University in Bangkok. The manifesto also calls for the dissolution of the Thai parliament, fresh elections, constitutional reform and an end to the intimidation of those critical of the government.

But it’s the unprecedented call for reforms the constitution and changes to the role of the Head of State that is causing the most controversy. Thailand’s strict lese-majeste law has long meant that such discussions are completely taboo, with offenders risking lengthy prison sentences of up to 15 years.

Panusaya says that the controversial nature of some of the students’ demands should rule out the possibility that they’re being controlled by others, whether political figures or academics.

“If we used a teacher as an adviser, he would not have allowed me to read the 10 demands. We did it without consulting anyone else. We have planned and thought carefully before taking action.”

She adds that she warned her lecturer to prepare himself before she spoke, insisting he was not aware of the content of her speech.

“He did not know what we were going to say. When I finished the speech, he said, ‘it (the manifesto) was aggressive, wasn’t it?’”

Nation Thailand reports that a large-scale demonstration is planned for September 19 in Bangkok, marking the anniversary of the 2006 military coup against the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Panusaya says the rally will continue overnight but is not sure how many days it may go on for. She says she’s aware of the risks she is taking by participating in such events, with many protesters already arrested on serious charges, including sedition. She admits adding the topic of the Monarchy into the mix increases the risk.

“It puts my life on the line. I talk straight, I cannot keep silent. It is a problem that must be solved. If we do not tackle the structural issues, to accommodate everyone, then the chronic issues will persist. The country must achieve real democracy.”

In addition, she says social media has proven an invaluable tool in increasing awareness and recruiting more young people to the cause.

“It wakes up many people. There are a lot of people who think like us. It is human nature that if we know that many people share our views, then we have the courage to speak out, our fear is lessened. But we will see on September 19.”

The Thai Army staged a coup against the elected caretaker government of PM Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, 2006. It was Thailand’s first non-constitutional change of government in 15 years, followed a year-long political crisis involving the former PM, his allies, and political opponents and occurred less than a month before nationwide elections were scheduled to be held.

It was widely reported in Thailand and elsewhere that General Prem Tinsulanonda, Chairman of the Privy Council at the time, was the ‘mastermind’ of the coup. The Army cancelled the scheduled October 15 elections, cancelled the 1997 constitution, dissolved parliament, banned protests and all political activities, censored Thailand’s media, arrested cabinet members and declared martial law.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Phuket51 mins ago

Chinese tourist found dead in Phuket

Crime1 hour ago

Overstaying former pro footballer arrested for hawking lottery tickets in Thailand

Thailand1 hour ago

Twitter investigation discovers mass censorship & blacklisting under previous regime

Sponsored7 hours ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Thailand1 hour ago

Brief history of the Japanese Onsen in Thailand

Patong2 hours ago

Officials say no to floating lanterns and fireworks on Patong Beach

Protests2 hours ago

Teen protestor claims police harassment

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand’s Full Moon Party attracts 12,000 tourists

Media3 hours ago

License to own unicorn issued by LA animal care authority

Hot News3 hours ago

Eight celebrities to join Japanese tycoon in space venture around the moon

North East3 hours ago

In northeast Thailand, a pretty camping site is being offered for free

Weather4 hours ago

Flash flood warning issued for 9 provinces in southern Thailand

Business4 hours ago

No link between phishing and Shopee transfer scam

Crime5 hours ago

From soapy king to supersleuth, Chuwit’s rehabilitation

Visa5 hours ago

Polish overstayer wanted by Interpol arrested in Koh Samui, Thailand

World5 hours ago

Miracle of birth – Barcelona refugees run for beautiful horizon

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11