Connect with us


Students warned of limits on free speech, told not to threaten monarchy

Jack Burton



PHOTO: Students rally on a Bangkok campus - Bangok Post

Deputy national police spokesman Krisana Pattanacharoen yesterday issued an ominous warning to students participating in the wave of rallies and demonstrations sweeping school campuses across the Kingdom. He says they are free to exercise their right to assembly but cautions them against “touching the institution,” an apparent reference to the monarchy.

“The young demonstrators have to decide for themselves whether what they are doing is breaching the law”

“There were examples in the past and we don’t want to take legal action [against them] later,” Krisana said, without elabourating. He opined that the protesters should also think about whether their actions are “infringing on other people’s rights.”

“As for which group is behind them, it was clear even before the [Constitutional] Court disbanded the Future Forward Party. People were urged to join the Run Against Dictatorship activity,” he said, referring to parallel running events in several provinces or “Wing Lai Lung” (Run to Oust Uncle), where participants called on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down.

University and high school students have been increasingly rallying on or near their campuses every day since Monday, demanding change. Their demands include a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution and Prayut’s resignation, to pave the way for a competent government and full democracy.

Krisana’s warning comes after Prayut pointed out that some demonstrators were making other demands, some touching on the monarchy, in addition to pressing for more democracy.

During the no-confidence debate on Thursday, Prayut told lawmakers he understood “the good intentions” of the demonstrators and said the government is trying to avoid any impact. But he repeated the view expressed by many conservative elements that young people are being manipulated.

“Any action taken will be by law. In fact, we haven’t taken any action. We’re concerned the students don’t really understand the situation. They might have been swayed or heard only one side of the story.”

“I urge them to listen to the government and decide for themselves what to believe. My concern is … the law is sacred. It doesn’t matter whether it’s today or in the future [the law will catch up with them]. Several people have been prosecuted for their roles in [the events of] 2010 or 2014, regardless of politcal colours. But what happened in 1973 and 1976 was different and we haven’t done anything to create a condition for that”

Th PM was evidently referring to the red-shirt and yellow-shirt protests of the 2000s and the bloody crackdowns during the Cold War when fears of communism and threats to the Royal Family ran high.

“Today, I’m more concerned about the future of the demonstrators. I’m not angry at them. After all, they have been ‘stimulated’.”

“But I have to warn you here that insults to the monarchy are being used to drive the agenda. Are you okay with that? If you are, then I am too. If you think it’s right, then I don’t know what to do and will be forced to act by law.”

“Don’t do it. I plead with you. I believe Parliament respects the institution. I’m confident it does. So don’t do it. If it comes to that, your worst fear may come true.”

On Friday, a group of students who held a rally in Chantha Buri province were fined 5,000 baht for breaking the public assembly law.

Some 800 students of Rambhai Barni Rajabhat University and their supporters gathered in a field near the university after the management did not allow them to use the campus.

The new public assembly law doesn’t apply to assemblies on campuses, but for demonstrations in other public spaces, organisers must inform police first so they can provide them with security and accommodate passers-by. Police initially fined the group 20,000 baht but they bargained it down to 5,000 baht.

In an apparent bit of political manoeuvring, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul today asked students to “think twice” about staging more events in order to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“Big crowds are now very risky. If someone in a crowd [was] infected, we’d have to track down many people. The numbers of patients could be more than we can handle. I don’t want to block your political will, but please think about society.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


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

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | OnlyFans content creators arrested on pornography charges | September 21

Thailand9 hours ago

Soldier allegedly assaults neighbours following horn honking

Thailand10 hours ago

Border agencies instructed to look out for gun smuggling along Myanmar border

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 10,919 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand11 hours ago

Officials clarify Korat police van stopped at the beach after collecting murder suspect

Crime11 hours ago

OnlyFans content creators arrested by Thai police on pornography charges

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand11 hours ago

Comments Galore! feat. Golf | Thaiger Bites | September 21

Cambodia12 hours ago

Scientists study bats in Cambodia to find clues about Covid

News13 hours ago

Update: government official that allegedly stole from fund meant for the disabled spent all the money on gambling

Thailand14 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | Reopening of entertainment venues, Manny Pacquiao for president | September 21 |

World14 hours ago

Flight restrictions to the US to ease in November – US government

Thailand15 hours ago

Bangkok re-opening Criteria, Thai Airways keeps Struggling | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 93

Thailand15 hours ago

Government warns that posting pornographic material is illegal following OnlyFans creator being questioned by police

Indonesia15 hours ago

Bali to re-open for international yachts with fully vaccinated crew, passengers

World16 hours ago

British Airways tests first ever net-zero carbon emissions flight

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Tourism7 months ago

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

Phuket7 months ago

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

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

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

Tourism7 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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