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Future Forward’s Thanathorn vows to dump 2017 charter

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Future Forward’s Thanathorn vows to dump 2017 charter | The Thaiger

Thanathorn Juangroongru-angkit was predictably chosen yesterday to be the leader of the Future Forward Party, which he co-founded with the agenda of not only becoming the prime minister but also dumping the current, junta-written 2017 Constitution.

The scion of the Thai Summit Group won 473 votes with one abstention during the party’s first official meeting, attended by more than 700 founding members from all provinces nationwide and a couple of thousand people at Thammasat University’s gymnasium hall.

Voting members raised their hands to approve the party’s name, logo, policies as well its executive board. Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, another co-founder and a former campaigner to amend the lese majeste law, was elected secretary-general.

The four party deputies were Lt-General Pongsakorn Rodchompoo, who was removed as deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council by an Article 44 order in 2015, the former chairman of Amnesty International Thailand, Chamnan Chanruang, education advocate Kunthida Rungruengkiat and IT expert Ronnawit Lorlertsoonthorn.

Future Forward's Thanathorn vows to dump 2017 charter | News by The Thaiger

The board also includes representatives from the labour sector, young generation from the IT sector as well as representatives from all regions of Thailand. The hashtag #futureforwardparty showed that not all social media users appeared to be pleased with the choice of party officials.

“I just feel that [the party] is a hotspot of leftist, front-row intellectuals,” tweeted a Twitter user @mizzphor.

The party aims to raise 350 million baht to fund its campaigning ahead of the election and will start accepting new members in August, when it is expected to be fully endorsed by the Election Commission. After the voting, the party meeting made a presentation on how Thailand had been locked up in a decade of political conflicts with a rap singer moaning about the junta government.

Thanathorn reiterated that while the party was still barred from spelling out its national policies under current law, it would stick to its goal of dumping the current charter, which he said only “stuck Thai politics in the same, old loop”.

“We all know that fixing this charter is hardly possible, topped by the fact that any amendment has to be approved by junta-appointed senators,” Piyabutr told a press conference.

“We have to campaign for a nationwide consensus that the 2017 charter cannot go any further. We will also have to revoke its Article 279 that empowers the current junta to overrule all laws,” the law expert continued. He was referring to how PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha has been granted absolute power by Article 44 of the defunct, interim 2014 charter. Article 279 still empowers the Prayut-headed National Council for Peace and Order with such a power until the NCPO becomes defunct.

The party’s agenda is also to call for the NCPO to revoke all its orders that obstruct the movements of political parties to “ensure freedom of expression and a free and fair election”, he said. This will also ultimately include an amnesty for all political prisoners under the NCPO era once the party gains power, Thanathorn added.

“The sooner the election is held, the better it would be for the country and for the NCPO itself,” Thanathorn said.

“Because the NCPO will only see its ratings decline continuously the longer it stays in power.”

He added that he would attend the NCPO’s planned meeting with political parties next month but only on the condition that the meeting is broadcast live.

Future Forward's Thanathorn vows to dump 2017 charter | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Protests

Motorists told to avoid certain areas in Bangkok as protests planned for today

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Motorists told to avoid certain areas in Bangkok as protests planned for today | The Thaiger

Bangkok motorists are being told to avoid areas where protests are planned to take place today. Kasetsart intersection, Lat Phrao intersection, Rachaprasong shopping district’s Central World shopping mall and 11th Infantry Regiment barracks in Bangkhen are the sites where demonstrators are set to infiltrate.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner says he is most concerned about the Lat Phrao intersection, due to the Redem or Restart Democracy group planning to hold a leaderless protest, which has been prone to violence in the past as demonstrated last Sunday. The group is an offset of the Free Youth movement, which is one of the main groups that have been demonstrating against the military-backed government.

The Redem protesters plan to march from the Lat Phrao intersection to the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road, despite a law announced in the Royal Gazette last night which banned protests, mass gatherings and assemblies. The law stated the reasoning was not political, citing fears over Covid-19 instead.

The newly announced law would give the government a wider range of power in enforcing such public gatherings, with law-breakers being subjected to up to a 40,000 baht fine or up to 2 years in jail. The Redem group is expected to demand the release of core Ratsadon leaders and others being held in jail without bail.

The Ratsadon group reached the outskirts of Bangkok yesterday, after a nearly 250 kilometre-long march from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district province. But they were met by police who tried to prevent them from marching further into Bangkok, but eventually allowed them to keep marching until they reached the Kasetsart intersection. The group is expected to end the march tomorrow, at Democracy Monument.

Despite the groups’ plans to ignore the recent law that bans protests, police have warned that they will face charges if they defy the new order. 32 companies of anti-riot police have been placed on standby in light of the expected protests taking place in Thailand’s capital today.

SOURCE: Thai Pbs World

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Crime

2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws

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2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws | The Thaiger

2 Phuket Town nightclubs are shutting down after allegedly violating multiple laws. The Maldives and H20 on Lim Sui Ju Road, on the south end of Phuket Town were ordered by the Phuket Governor to close immediately, with the Maldives being orderd to close for 5 years.

The order comes after the Phuket City Police inspected the Maldives club, arresting the manager for operating an entertainment venue without a permit, allowing people under 20 years old to work or “use services in the venue,” and for selling alcohol without a permit.

Governor Narong cited his authority under Section 4 of NCPO order 22/2558 to order the Maldives nightclub to be closed for 5 years, from March 5, 2021 to March 4, 2026.

The order also prohibits the operators from opening any other entertainment venues during the same period. The H20 nightclub was ordered to close by a provincial order after Phuket City Police say they inspected the venue and charged the operator for selling or providing shisha, or baraku, without permission.

The owner was also accused of operating an entertainment venue without a permit and violating the provincial order for enforcing Covid-19 safety measures. But it is unknown what penalties were handed down to the operator of the H20 nightclub, unlike the Maldives operator, who received a penalty.

Instead, the governor cited the Revolution Council announcement of 1959, to shut down the establishment for 30 days from March 5, 2021 to April 3, 2021. The orders noted that both operators of the clubs have the right to appeal the closures, having 15 days to file an appeal directly with the Phuket Governor.

Meanwhile, Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season.

The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Thailand

Thailand bans assemblies, protests, mass gatherings citing Covid-19 fears

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Thailand bans assemblies, protests, mass gatherings citing Covid-19 fears | The Thaiger

Thailand’s government has banned assemblies, protests, and mass gatherings citing fears over Covid-19 spreading. The Royal Gazette, Thailand’s official site for publishing new laws and regulations, made the announcement late last night on the heels of another protest scheduled for today.

The ban is in place for Bangkok and 5 other provinces including Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, and Nonthaburi provinces.

Thai Government officials insist the ban on protests is not political but some are skeptical as a protest last weekend ended in violence after demonstrators tried to march to the home of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The “leaderless protest” set for today, by “Redem” pro-democracy group, is set to march to the Thai Criminal Court. And, protest groups on social media have stated that the new regulations will not stop scheduled future protests.

Despite the Emergency Decree that has been put in place to ban mass gatherings, the new law will cover more ground by giving the government more power to assert control over law-breakers by including fines up to 40,000 baht or up to 2 years in jail. The new law is effective until further notice.

Yesterday, the pro-democracy group Ratsadon, arrived to the outskirts of Bangkok, after a nearly 250 kilometre, 17 day long walk from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district. The group was protesting the imprisonment of 9 pro-democracy demonstrators who are being denied bail. The march, named “Walk Through the Sky: Bring Back the People’s Power,” started on February 16.

The march is expected to end today at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, but it is unclear whether or not the protest will be stopped in accordance to the new ban.

Thailand has seen a drop in the amount of daily reported cases of Covid-19, with numbers decreasing to double-digits. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration assistant spokeswoman is now claiming that Thailand has successfully contained the second wave of Covid, which broke out last December.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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