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Students choose Thammasat University for September 19 protests without permission

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Students protesters are moving forward with rally plans for this Saturday, September 19, at Bangkok’s Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus, despite failing to get permission from university administration. The campus has been chosen before for such rallies and some students are reportedly threatening to break into the campus if they have to.

The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration Group has made waves recently for their anti-government protests with student leaders saying they will camp overnight if necessary, a move which has left security officials unimpressed.

The group plans to march to the Government House at the conclusion of the protest, and may even spread out across the Royal ceremony field of Sanam Luang, across the street from the university campus. Authorities have responded to the news saying that anti-riot police will be in place at the 3 locations in preparation for what could be the largest protest yet against the government. Demonstrators say there will be 50,000 at the event, police say it’s likely to be more like 20,000.

Such a protest comes after rumours swirl of yet another military coup in the near future, though PM Prayut has publicly shot down such allegations. Still, such a demonstration on the historic campus has some concerned as it is no stranger to violent clashes. In 1976, three years after the ouster of a dictatorship by the so-called Three Tyrants, leftist students who protested the return of such a dictatorship were beaten, shot, raped and murdered by officials and opposition groups. Official figures put the death toll at 46, with 167 wounded and more than 3,000 arrested. However, survivors put the death toll closer to 100. The clash was then used to justify a military coup which overthrew the democratically-elected government.

Now, Thammasat University alumni on both sides have joined the battle with one side penning an open letter on September 14 calling on university officials to reconsider the ban.

Protesters on August 10 submitted a 10-point manifesto on monarchy reform in the university’s campus which then prompted the university to prohibit the rally citing organisers had yet to comply with guidelines set forth on holding campus political activities. However, one reason the campus was selected was due to its exemption from the Public Assembly Act which came into force in 2015. The act states that organisers do not need to seek permission from the police to hold protests on the campus.

Protesters appear to be protected under the act, but will be at risk of violating the law if the rally spreads to Sanam Luang or the Government House as currently the law states, “No public assembly shall be held within the National Assembly, Government House and Courts of Justice.”

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

 

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Business

Thai Airways’ creditors to vote on rehab plan today

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Pixabay

Today is D-Day for Thai Airways, with 13,000 creditors voting on whether or not to accept the struggling airline’s rehabilitation plan. According to a Bangkok Post report, a source at the airline has warned that should creditors reject the plan, the carrier will be declared bankrupt and they would only receive 12.9% of what they’re owed.

In the event of a bankruptcy declaration, the airline’s assets will be appraised to decide how much of its debts can be repaid. The estimate of 12.9% is based on the value of assets currently held by the carrier.

The Bangkok Post reports that the rehabilitation plan which was submitted in March covers debts of around 410 billion baht. It’s understood major shareholders own around 180 billion baht of that debt between them. Should the rehab plan be accepted today, it’s likely Thai Airways will be given a certain timeframe in which to turn itself around.

The plan calls for the repayment period of debts arising from unsecured bonds worth 70 billion baht to be extended to 10 years, with a debt moratorium in the early stages of repayment. The airline is also introducing tough cost-cutting measures, including job reductions via early retirement for thousands of its 20,000 workers.

It’s understood the plan does not call for the Ministry of Finance to provide a loan but says anyone can obtain the loan and the ministry can help with cash injection negotiations. The State Enterprise Policy Office has already stated that the government will not re-capitalise the airline.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health officials race to vaccinate 70% of Khlong Toey slum residents

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

Health officials are racing to vaccinate 70% of residents in Bangkok’s Khlong Toey neighbourhood, the largest slum in the city where hundreds have tested positive for Covid-19 since April. With people living in crowded conditions and many unable to take off work to self-isolate, Thai authorities have been rolling out proactive Covid-19 testing and a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to contain the virus.

A third vaccination unit has been set up in the district at the Port Authority Stadium, adding to the units at Tesco Lotus Rama IV and Wat Khlong Toey School. Around 50,000 of the 80,000 residents in the Khlong Toey slum need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to reach herd immunity, according to Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang.

As of Sunday, 11,211 people had been vaccinated at the mobile units and each vaccination unit has been handing out 1,000 queue cards each day. With the third vaccination unit, city officials plan to inoculate 2,500 to 3,000 people per day until May 19.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration launched a proactive testing campaign on April 27 in the Khlong Toey district. Since then, 19,983 people have been tested with 654 people positive for Covid-19. 5,700 people are waiting for the results to come back and the others are negative.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monday Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths

Tim Newton

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Monday’s totals have been announced for Covid-19 infections and new deaths over the past 24 hours. The Thai public health ministry reports 22 deaths and 1,630 infections.

• The only 5 imported Covid-19 cases yesterday were from neighbouring countries, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar. Authorities say that patrols will have to be stepped up at this time to control the illegal border crossings.

All 5 people caught were Thais who were were trying to cross back into Thailand without going through the border checkpoints. They’ve all been admitted to state hospitals.

• 100+ African gemstone traders have tested positive for Covid-19 over the last 4 days in Chanthaburi, east of Bangkok. Authorities have confirmed that none were detected with the African or Indian variants of Covid-19.

The 109 traders tested positive between May 6 – 9.

• 63 new cases of Covid-19 have been announced in Chon Buri today (including Pattaya), a drop from totals reported over the past week. There’s also been 1 additional death reported. 1,507 people remain in medical care for the virus in the province.

• Meanwhile all public service and government offices, including Thai immigration, are closed for Monday. But it’s not a public holiday. Today is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony which is a traditional ceremony to forecast the season’s rice and wet season crops. His Majesty the King usually presides over the annual event at the royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang.

 

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