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Protests

Students at northeastern university accuse police of disrupting rally, harassment

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: www.inter.msu.ac.th

Students at Maha Sarakham University, in the north-east of the country, are accusing the police of harassing them and attempting to disrupt a planned rally. The leader of a pro-democracy student group has taken to Facebook to point the finger at plain-clothes and uniformed officers who arrived at the university to carry out a search, and to remind organisers of the laws governing public gatherings.

Thai PBS World reports that police removed copies of a red book in which the students’ 10-point manifesto is outlined. They have also taken poetry collections written by students in the Free People Movement. The students say all the confiscated written content is still available for download in PDF form.

Boxes of these same books were confiscated by police on the morning of the September 19 rally. Some 45,000 books were seized from a house in an estate near the university’s Rangsit campus by Khlong Luang district of Thailand’s Pathum Thani provincial police. The students, all inside the house at the time of the raid, were taken to the Khlong Luang police station for questioning. Boxes of the books were also seized and taken for evidence.

This time, the pro-democracy activists accuse the police of attempting to block access to the university’s sports ground, where the rally was being held. Officers used metal barriers in an attempt to cut off access, but their attempts were unsuccessful, as students and red-shirt supporters filed into the grounds.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out by The Super Poll Research Centre reveals that most of those surveyed disagree with how anti-government protests are being carried out. Between September 25 and October 3, over 1,200 participants were surveyed on what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, with multiple choice answers provided.

• Over 97% say the students were inciting others, over 96% mention the abuse of institutions, over 94% mentioned “slandering others” and over 93% mention the use of impolite words.

• Over 97% of respondents say they find the violation of laws, destruction of property and threats to others as unacceptable, with only 2.6% saying the protesters’ actions are acceptable.

• Nearly 90% of those surveyed say they believe the political unrest will make the economic situation and fallout from Covid-19 worse.

• 89% say they are against the protesters threatening or resorting to violence.

• 11% say they support the protesters doing so.

• Nearly 95% say they’re unsure as to when political unrest might turn violent.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Nation Thailand

 

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