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

The Thaiger

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Thai PM uses Covid fears to persuade protesters to postpone Saturday rally | The Thaiger
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 The 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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    patty

    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. Avatar

    gtfo

    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..

    • Avatar

      patty

      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. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    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.

    • Avatar

      patty

      September 18, 2020 at 5:33 pm

      well said too mate

  4. Avatar

    Glenn

    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. Avatar

    Maag

    September 21, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Fesr of what…..Thailand is covid free !

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Crime

Man arrested for growing 108 cannabis plants in Samut Prakan

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for growing 108 cannabis plants in Samut Prakan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77kaoded

Police arrested an Argentinian man for growing cannabis at his house in Samut Prakan, just southeast of Bangkok. 35 year old Sagas Nur told police he planned to produce cannabis oil.

Medical marijuana is legalised – with limitations – while recreational marijuana is still classified as a category 5 narcotic. Sagas is facing charges of producing a category 5 narcotic. He could face 2 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 1,500,000 baht.

Police were tipped off about Sagas’ alleged growing operation. They searched the house and say they found 108 cannabis plants that were about 1.5 metre high. Sagas allegedly told police he bought the seeds online with the intention to grow plants and then produce cannabis oil.

Thailand legalised medical marijuana in 2018, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to do so. Recreational marijuana trafficking and operations continue to be busted by police while the government studies medical marijuana with plans to tap into the global market. The Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul even helped plant cannabis seedlings at a government-run facility with 1,300 plants.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | South China Morning Post

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Protests

Opposition MPs petition for Bangkok State of Emergency to be lifted

Maya Taylor

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Opposition MPs petition for Bangkok State of Emergency to be lifted | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.nandy0140.com

A group of opposition MPs and other activists will today petition to have the emergency decree currently in force in Bangkok revoked. Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha imposed the state of emergency last Thursday morning, in the wake of escalating political unrest in the capital. Now a number of Pheu Thai MPs and other opponents of the State of Emergency are calling on the Civil Court to retract it.

Last weeks declaration was “rubber stamped” the next day by an emergency meeting of the Thai cabinet.

One of those petitioning for the state of emergency to be rescinded, is the President of the Lawyers’ Association of Thailand, Narinphong Jinaphak. He says enforcement of the decree is illegal and that there is nothing to justify it, pointing out that political rallies have been peaceful, and protesters have acted within the confines of the law. He also points out that the Thai Constitution guarantees citizens the right to assemble.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that Cholnan Srikaew, Pheu Thai MP for the northern province of Nan, has described the PM’s announcement of the State of Emergency in the early hours of last Thursday as illegitimate. He adds that should the court decide the state of emergency is unlawful, the group may sue the government for having declared it.

The group is also petitioning for an interim injunction, to prevent authorities from using the emergency decree against protesters, while the court considers whether to revoke it altogether.

Meanwhile, national police chief, Suwat Jangyodsuk, says officers are still under orders to avoid the use of force when dealing with protesters, in order to protect them and the general public. He denies that water cannons used to disperse a protest in Bangkok on Friday contained chemical substances known to cause irritation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Visa

41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban

Caitlin Ashworth

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41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Patrick Tomasso

Just 41 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Bangkok today, a small, yet major step forward after a 7 month ban on international tourists which was put in place in late-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The visitors are said to be travelling on the new Special Tourist Visa, which allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. But the tourists departing from Shanghai, China and arriving in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport this evening will only be in Thailand for 30 days, and that includes a 14 day quarantine, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says.

Plans under the new scheme have been sketchy to say the least and reports have been conflicting. Reports circulated about a group of about 120 to 150 tourists under the new visa scheduled to arrive in Phuket earlier this month from Guangzhou, China. The flight was delayed. A few days later, a spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry announced no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and TAT just passed off a list of those “interested” in the scheme rather than those who were ready to fly.

Things seem a bit sketchy again. The flight arriving today was at first going to have 120 to 150 tourists, but now it’s down to 41, according to Pattaya News. Yuthasak did not say why only a limited number of tourists are arriving today, but says Bangkok’s ongoing protests are not a factor, adding that the tourists plan to travel to beaches outside the city once the mandatory quarantine period is over. He says 100 more Chinese tourists will arrive in Bangkok later this week.

Upon arrival, the tourists will be tested for Covid-19 and are required to register with a Covid-19 tracking application. They will then be transferred to certified quarantine accommodations to stay for the next 14 days.

“If the first batch of Chinese tourists is considered to be potentially successful, TAT might propose the idea of increasing more tourists to the CCSA (Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration) and the government.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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