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Students say they’ll increase protests until PM stands down

Greeley Pulitzer

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Students say they’ll increase protests until PM stands down | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Students lighting their mobile phones during a protest at Kasetsart University against the government last night - Wichan Charoenkiatpakul, Bangkok Post
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About 700 students joined a rally last night in front of the auditorium at Bangkok’s Kasetsart University, vowing to escalate their protests until the government of Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha steps down. University and secondary students have been rallying on or near their campuses since Monday to demand a rewrite of Thailand’s 2017 Constitution and transparent elections. Pro-democracy activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, who co-organised the three-hour demonstration, told reporters:

“We won’t stop here, though I can’t say yet whether our next move will be a mass rally or a street march.”

Leaders of the now-defunct Future Forward Party (FFP) didn’t attend the Kasetsart gathering as was earlier reported, although the party logo was seen on equipment used by the flash mob’s participants.

Parit, a student of Thammasat University, is himself a former FFP member. He joined ex-leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit in another, controversial flash mob late last year in central Bangkok, in response to the Election Commission’s decision to ask the Constitutional Court to disband the party.

Students have held many rallies since the court dissolved the FFP on February 21 for taking what it ruled an “illegal loan” from Thanathorn. But one rally leader who identified herself only as “Jinny,” said:

“We’re not gathering today to save any one party, only our future.”

Organisers of last night’s event say they have launched a webpage, “MobGunMai” (“Let’s Mob Together”), to give updates on their movements and compile video clips of similar rallies nationwide. The gathering at Kasetsart University was just one of several protests held across the nation this week, with more scheduled in the coming days. Police have warned demonstrators that they are free to exercise their right to assembly but cautions them against “touching the institution,” an apparent reference to the monarchy.

On Thursday, Srinakharinwirot University was jammed with students, most of them freshmen and sophomores, who gathered on its football field to hear speeches about the state of democracy in Thailand and the unfair treatment (they feel was) given to the Future Forward Party. “Tuanote,” a 20 year old sophomore, said he joined the activity because he wants to oust the Prayut government.

“We’re not just representing the six million voices silenced by the disbanding of the Future Forward Party, but also those who want this country to be a real democracy.”

On Friday, a group of students who rallied in Chanthaburi province were fined 5,000 baht each for breaking the public assembly law. And around 800 students of Rambhai Barni Rajabhat University and their supporters gathered in a field near their school after management refused to let them use the campus.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM asks cabinet for emergency decree

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM asks cabinet for emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Eleven Media Group

PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha formally asked the Thai Cabinet this afternoon for the declaration of a national emergency to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Thailand. The decree, which the Cabinet is currently discussing, will likely be enacted for a month. A decision is expected to be announced later today.

The decree would allow authorities to impose curfews, ban domestic travel and close any building without a warrant, and would give the government the ability to censor and shut down media if deemed necessary.

Proponents of the decree say it will help bring the situation under control, while critics fear the decree could be used to further the government’s power and limit individual rights.

Prayut proposed the enactment of the 2005 Royal Decree of Emergency Situation during today’s Cabinet meeting. If approved, the decree will be enacted from Thursday to April 30. A news conference is expected later this afternoon.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | The Pattaya News

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Politics

Health minister denies racist tweets

Greeley Pulitzer

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Health minister denies racist tweets | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - File photo

“Many farang dress dirty and don’t shower. As hosts we have to be very careful.”

Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul certainly knows how to grab the spotlight: just days after messages posted on his Twitter account caused a social media uproar and prompted the account to be shuttered, he has denied making the tweet. In a short interview with the BBC, Anutin claims he didn’t post the now infamous “Dirty Western Foreigner” tweets late last week.

Writing in two Twitter posts on Thursday night, which were later deleted, the account said “farangs,” (slang for Caucasians) “never shower” and pose health risks to the Thai population.

Anutin, who previously grabbed national attention when he lost his cool on television after a Caucasian foreigner rejected his attempts to give him a mask, says he has “no issues” with Europeans and foreigners, and even has many white western friends.

He told the BBC that the tweets, which seemed to blame the outbreak of the virus on Western Europeans while stating that Chiang Mai was better when it had many Chinese tourists and not “Bad and dirty Europeans” was not his.

He claims that many people had access to the account and that the account was closed down because the the incident is under investigation, adding that his full attention is on fighting the novel Covid-19 Coronavirus and ensuring Thailand does not have a full scale epidemic like several other countries, and his team, not he, is administering his social media.

Reaction on social media has been extremely harsh, with many western foreigners and full time expats expressing outrage over the comments.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Khaosod English

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Politics

PM urges unity in the face of adversity

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM urges unity in the face of adversity | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - File photo

In a nation battered by drought, a slowing economy and the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has appealed to the public to unite and join the government in its efforts to overcome.

In a public statement yesterday, the PM said some of the measures adopted by his administration to cope with the threat of coronavirus contagion are different from those of other countries, due to differences in population, demographics, climate and other factors, but added that the government has obtained help and adopted practises from abroad.

Prayut urged all sectors of society, including the mainstream and online media, the public and the business sector, to support the government in its attempts to contain the virus, instead of bickering over minor issues, publishing false or distorted information, or accusing the Government of failure in addressing the virus threat, drought or other problems.

He defended against criticism that Thailand is not democratic and that his administration does not embrace democracy, asking whether the government has ever gagged the media.

Regarding the nation’s drought its worst in 40 years, the government claims officials are working at full capacity to find sources of water to meet demand for consumption and agriculture.

Regarding the economy, the PM said Thailand still relies on exports and tourism to drive the economy, pointing out the need for Thai people adjust to changing circumstances and technologies.

He assured the public that the government is doing its best for the people, but would like them to cooperate in the fight to contain the virus by avoiding panic, keeping themselves in good shape and trusting that the government will prevail over the current problems.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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