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Thai PM uses Covid fears to persuade protesters to postpone Saturday rally



PHOTO: Will Langston
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The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is rolling out his biggest weapon, fear, to try and persuade anti-government protesters to postpone tomorrow’s rally at the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus. He asked them to consider putting off their plans to hold the rally at least “until the Covid-19 outbreak is over”.

In a televised address, he asked Thais to unite in ending the Covid-19 crisis “before focusing on political issues”. PM Prayut has not mentioned ‘Covid’ as an issue before the other student rallies.

The rally has been planned for this Saturday with student and anti-government groups demanding amendments to the 2017 Thai constitution, dissolution of the parliament, an end to intimidation of government critics and changes to the role of the Thai Head of State.

Whilst Thailand has largely contained the worst of the Covid-19 virus, reaching 101 days without a local transmission, before a handful of 3 local transmission cases over the past 2 weeks. But Prayut claimed the rallies would “put Thailand at the risk of a 2nd wave of Covid-19 infections”. He went on to say the 2nd wave could affect the livelihoods of more than 10 million people “and further exacerbate the economic situation”. Prayut warned that protester should “not do anything that would prompt another lockdown”.

His appeal, using Covid-19 as his main argument to stop the rally, will probably do little to dampen the enthusiasm of the anti-government groups. More likely, the forecast for a 90% chance of rain around Bangkok tomorrow will be a greater deterrent.

Thai PM uses Covid fears to persuade protesters to postpone Saturday rally | News by Thaiger

The protest organisers were hoping they could attract some 50,000 people to the rally but security officials say they predict the numbers will be more like 20,000. The August 19 Democracy Monument rally attracted up to 10,000.

Speaking about the planned protest, the PM has said, numerous times, that he wants to avoid any violence “at all costs”.

“I respect your opinions, but today Thailand is feeling the pain that we have to urgently tackle first, and that is to mitigate the economic losses brought on by the outbreak. We should not worsen the situation.”

During his TV speech last night, Prayut warned the protesters that political unrest would delay economic recovery, as it would dent investors’ confidence and deter tourists from visiting Thailand once the borders are open.

“Rallies will also shift the government’s focus from solving economic problems. Many places are already experiencing a second wave of infections, but Thailand has been able to successfully curb transmissions thanks to the collaboration of related parties.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. patty

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Great article Thaiger, unlike other media outlets, you have stated the truth on this matter. The heading is spot on and the content speaks the truth. Using COVID as an excuse is just pathetic coming from a man that has done more damage to this country than COVID has. I suspect that pressure is mounting around him to step down and is using any excuse to try to delay the inevitable. I am also confused as to why he is worried now as the students have already held rallies on numerous occasions since August but never heard the dictator say anything, AND, on top of that, no COVID outbreak has come from those other rallies. He is really pathetic and should step down. He is unfit to run a country

  2. gtfo

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Who is fit to run a country? I don’t think anyone is. A new government won’t fix anything. Dissolve the current govt, and then just stop. Let free markets sort out the country, region, and world. Something no government has ever let it be tried..

    • patty

      Friday, September 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm

      Anyone but this idiot. And anyone not connected to the military. My personal preference would be Thaksin. All personal corruption aside, he did more for this country than anyone else. Plus he is a businessman and knows what is good for the economy. But obviously that’s not going to happen

  3. Toby Andrews

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 11:57 am

    patty has said it all.
    This perpetual excuse of threat of covid is beginning to become boring from this P.M.
    It is now obvious he is using this tiny threat of covid death to run a dictatorship without elections.

    • patty

      Friday, September 18, 2020 at 5:33 pm

      well said too mate

  4. Glenn

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    “He asked them to consider putting off their plans to hold the rally at least “until the Covid-19 outbreak is over”.

    well “asked them to consider” is a bit softer than demanding and threatening.

    But to continue the propaganda of a deadly virus that has killed 58 people in 8 months and had no medical effect on 99.995% of the population… Isn’t it about time to throw in the towel and call it all off, or resign?

  5. Maag

    Monday, September 21, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Fesr of what…..Thailand is covid free !

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