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Thammasat students ask for 3 days off class to participate in protest

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thammasat students ask for 3 days off class to participate in protest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Will Langston
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With the next pro-democracy protest planned for this Wednesday, students are asking Thammasat University officials to cancel classes for 3 days so the students can take part in the rally.

The rally is expected to start at 2pm on Wednesday at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, not far from the University’s Tha Prachan Campus, but no end time has been announced. The Thammasat University Student Union issued a statement today asking for classes to be cancelled on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow is a public holiday around Thailand commemorating the passing of the much-loved King Bhumibol, Rama 9, who died on October 13 after years of poor health.

Protesters will gather at the monument on Ratchadomnoen Avenue and march to the Government House to again call on the removal of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha as well as an end to the military-run government and a new charter, according to activist leader, and human rights lawyer, Arnon Nampa.

Wednesday marks the anniversary of the 1973 Thai uprising which led to the end of the military dictatorship of anti-communist Thanom Kittikachorn. That event, and the 3 years of political unrest following, culminated in the Thammasat University Massacre in October 1976.

Police have been preparing for the protest saying they plan to deploy around 3,000 police officers to “keep the peace.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    RR

    October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Who cares of classes? Just go

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 12, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    What sort of revolutionaries are they, having to ask their teachers for to suspend their classes?
    Do they also have to ask their mothers if they can stay out late?

    lol

  3. Avatar

    James Pate

    October 13, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Interesting move by protesters. If classes are cancelled, it’s an endorsement. If not, they are the enemy. School can’t win.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Events

Thai PM orders investigation into Samut Prakan gas pipeline explosion, 3 dead

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Thai PM orders investigation into Samut Prakan gas pipeline explosion, 3 dead | The Thaiger

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is ordering an investigation into yesterday’s explosion of a gas pipeline in Samut Prakan, just south east of central Bangkok. At least 3 people were killed. Among the dead, 2 elderly women were killed, plus at least 28 confirmed injuries when the PTT gas pipeline exploded in the coastal Bang Bo district.

The prime minister has also expressed his condolences to the families of the victims stating that authorities would “get to the bottom of the incident”. The explosion was near the Soi Preng Wisuthathibdee School. Children were evacuated from the area immediately. The gas pipeline exploded during a gas transfer from Laem Chabang district to an industrial estate in Samut Prakan province.

Samut Prakan-based emergency responders arrived quickly on the scene with firetrucks and extinguishing foam.

Thai PM orders investigation into Samut Prakan gas pipeline explosion, 3 dead | News by The ThaigerThai PM orders investigation into Samut Prakan gas pipeline explosion, 3 dead | News by The Thaiger

PTT, the Thai petrochemical company announced yesterday around 2.30 pm that the fire was under control and the situation contained.

“It is initially believed that the explosion was caused by the leakage and diffusion of NGV liquefied natural gas in the pipeline.”

Officials from the PTT Emergency Control Centre have been assisting the injured and said they will “resolve the situation as quickly as possible”.

Authorities speculate that built up pressure in the pipelines were responsible for the blast. Investigators are now on sire to inspect the scene. There hasn’t been any announcement about the full extent of the damage caused by the explosion. Video below from INN News.

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Protests

Preparations for the emergency session of the Thai Parliament

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Preparations for the emergency session of the Thai Parliament | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Protesters display the 3 finger salute in the lead up to next Monday's emergency sessions of parliament - Associate Press

The Thai Parliament is getting ready for an extraordinary session called by the Lower House Speaker to debate the current impasse between the protester’s demands and the PM and government. The session will be held on Monday and Tuesday. But even before the emergency session begins, government and opposition parliamentarians cannot decide on the terms of the debate.

Parliament president and lower house speaker, veteran Chuan Leekpai, hosted a meeting yesterday in preparation for the “extraordinary joint session” which will run over 2 days. He says the session will debate “ways to defuse the ongoing political crisis”. The debates will involve both houses of parliament, constituting the elected MPs of the lower house and the hand-picked, unelected Senators of the upper house. The preparatory meeting included members of cabinet, government coalition parties, opposition and the upper house.

Outside of the unfinished Thai parliamentary building, police and security officials were preparing for expected return of protests and a large turnout for the next round of political rallies. The protesters have already made this Sunday night the deadline for the Thai PM to resign, having already decided to co-operate with the PM after his Wednesday night request for the protesters to “stand down’ pending parliamentary discussions.

It’s unlikely the PM will meet this deadline and will participate in the 2 day emergency session.

The 2-day special session is being held under Section 165 of the 2017 Thai constitution which states “the government can request a joint House-Senate sitting for a general debate”. The next scheduled session of parliament was November 1.

But even the terms of the motion for the emergency session is causing debate before the doors even open for the emergency session. Opposition parties are demanding that their be the opportunity for a substantive vote following the session so that some concrete progress can be made to diffuse the current political crisis.

“We may refuse to be involved in the debates unless there is an opportunity to vote on the motions.”

Sutin Klungsang, opposition whip from the Pheu Thai Party, says unless the topics covered actually address the protesters demands, there is little use in turning up to the sessions.

The Move Forward Party’s (including remnants of the disbanded Future Forward party) Chaithawat Tulathon, says there must be a motion which includes the protesters’ key demands… that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha resign, a new constitution be written and the role of the Tha monarchy be limited and codified.

“Parliament should serve as an example in discussing sensitive issues in an appropriate and mature manner.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Reuters | Nation Thailand

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Protests

Bangkok hostels offer free beds to struggling protesters

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Bangkok hostels offer free beds to struggling protesters | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A protester is happy to have a clean and safe place to rest between rallies - usnews.com

Some Bangkok hostels are opening their doors, and offering beds and accommodation to demonstrators, providing them free refuge, or at very low prices. Young protesters have travelled to Bangkok to be a part of the growing protest movement that is putting pressure on the PM and government to listen to, and accede, to their demands.

More information about their demands and the protest movement HERE.

The protesters have defied crackdowns and even a formal State of Emergency, declared to allow arrests and police intervention, to call for on Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign. The protest movement is also demanding reforms to the role of the Thai monarch, and want the revised role to be codified in a new constitution.

Some of the protesters, with no other options, have been sleeping in the city’s parks or simply sleeping on the street, determined to stay in the capital and continue the demonstrations with their peers. Many others are being accommodated by friends and families. Now some of the city’s empty hostels are offering to take them in to rest in between what has become almost daily protests (over the last 9 days).

One hostel owner said that they had almost no visitors staying with them over the last month and felt it was “their duty” to take in the young Thais and provide a clean, safe place for them to stay. Whilst asking not to be identified, he said that they have plenty of spare beds at the moment.

“This isn’t a political thing for us. We are all Thais and should help each other. These young people needed refuge and we are glad to help them”.

Now there’s a Twitter account, Mobmeeteenon (Translated: protesters have places to sleep), that links protesters to available rooms after the protest schedule ramped up in recent weeks and, for now, looks to continue, despite the Government calling an emergency session of Parliament next Monday and Tuesday.

The Twitter account is now offering more rooms than the number of protesters looking for refuge as Bangkok hospitality owners make space available.

Some protesters, speaking on the condition of anonymity, are saying that they’ve been living in the same place for more than a week now and call their temporary accommodation “home” whilst visiting Bangkok to take part in the protests.

Despite being “well funded” now, the protest movement doesn’t provide any money for the protesters. The protest movement is receiving donations from other Thai people and from overseas. Just last week some 4 million baht flooded in from K-Pop enthusiasts, and more is expected as their ‘idols’ are speaking out in support of the current Thai protest movement.

“We’ve had a dribble of real travellers over the past 3 months so it’s nice to see our beds being used again. They are all helping each other and want to see this through to the end.”

Some 500 people have been hosted in Bangkok hostels since the effort to provide rooms started.

On Wednesday night the Thai PM addressed the nation on TV and promised to revoke the State of Emergency in return for the protesters “standing down”. His conciliatory tone was matched by an official rescinding of the emergency decree yesterday morning.

Protesters, for their part, have called off further protest action until Sunday night. They say they expect the resignation of the PM “by Sunday night” or they will continue their protests again. The Thai Parliament has been called for an emergency session to discuss the protester demands and the current impasse next Monday and Tuesday.

SOURCE: Reuters | bookings.com

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