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Pro-democracy movement making little headway… monarchy’s powers remain untouched

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Pro-democracy movement making little headway… monarchy’s powers remain untouched | The Thaiger
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The cost of pushing for change in 2020 by Thailand’s pro-democracy movement is still being splashed all over the news after more than 55 protesters sustained injuriesat rally sites, mostly minor. And, as the year comes to an end, protest leaders say they are taking a break, only to come back stronger in 2021.

But some question whether the fervent effort by thousands of students to call into question the nation’s charter and demand amendments really made any sizeable difference. The monarchy’s place in the constitution remains unchanged as well as the military’s hold on power, with a complete hold on all Senate seats… and votes.

However, such sizeable protests have clearly made an impact as precedents were set, namely in some protesters’ bold actions to ignore the nation’s Lèse Majesté law that ban criticism of the country’s revered monarchy, with consequences of breaking that law including prison time of up to 15 years. The young students have also seen themselves polarised from much of Thailand’s conservative society, including the ripping apart of many families over the matter.

Constitutional drafts to change the 2017 Charter paved the way for the setting up of a Constitution Drafting Assembly, but the chapter relating to the monarchy remains unaffected, with a refusal of the fragile conservative coalition government refusing to entertain any such amendments.

A joint sitting of the parliament also rejected the “people’s bill,” which was proposed by the civic group iLaw. Such a bill would have made a constitutional rewrite possible by a fully-elected charter-drafting assembly, which would empower the assembly to include the chapter related to the monarchy’s powers to be amended.

Despite it being backed by around 100,000 voters, the denial of the first-ever voter-driven charter amendment motion to be debated by Parliament, dealt a blow to the student-led anti-establishment movement, which aimed to banish the 2014 military coup from its current stronghold.

Parliament’s decision to reject such amendments, that would curb royal powers, signals that the fight for change still has a long and rocky road ahead. Despite protest leaders demanding a new, democratic Constitution, the resignation of Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and reform of the monarchy, nothing has significantly changed as of now.

Currently, the 2017 Constitution remains unchange as 2019’s general elections ended up with a ‘stacked’ senate with appointed military or junta members. The situation makes it difficult, if not impossible, to pass anything that was against the wishes of the military as they hold all 250 votes in the Senate.

Parliament’s decision to pass the 2 amendment draftsare just the start of a long approval process as each amendment requires a 2nd and 3rd reading with results expected in January. If the amendment drafts do pass a 3rd reading, they will then be put to a national referendum as they involve changes to the process of amending the Constitution.

For now, the protest groups say they will continue to push for change, but seem to remain undaunted.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Craig

    Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    All I can say is “good luck”. It’s not my country and glad it isn’t.

    • Avatar

      Mike

      Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 11:00 pm

      Absolutely. It’s never changed with power for monarchy as 500 years. Same as the UK before it had a parliament and Oliver Cromwell et Al

  2. Avatar

    John

    Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    The so-called pro democracy movement is nothing more than a American globalist cosmopolitan backed communist movement. Americans have now finally realized it’s going to take more than voting to restore true liberty and freedom from tyranny. Good luck Thailand, if we can get our shit squared away we will help you.

    • Avatar

      Slugger

      Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 3:42 pm

      I thought the Americans would be involved. Everything they touch ends in failure. They have never won a war.

      • Avatar

        preesy chepuce

        Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 3:56 pm

        Slugger from Shanghai, your CCP rhetoric is tedious and won’t find any traction outside yo’ momma’s basement.

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      John from Jiangsu, this isn’t the place for a CCP propaganda, do you have any evidence to back your silly claims?

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    “The young students have also seen themselves polarised from much of Thailand’s conservative society, …..”

    I’d suggest they’ve also been “polarised from much of Thailand’s progressive society” too, mainly thanks to the RT / Restart Thailand movement.

  4. Avatar

    Thaise

    Monday, December 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I don’t understand why news always have one side of the story, we mostly hear only the protesters voices why don’t the press share some story of the normal Thai people who respect and believe in Thai king and the government?

  5. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Monday, December 28, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    simply a case of timing,they will be back when things go back to normal and headline media exposure is assured worldwide.

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Protests

Security guard slaps student for displaying protest sign at Bangkok mall – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Security guard slaps student for displaying protest sign at Bangkok mall – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Benja Apan

A security guard at the luxury Iconsiam shopping mall in Bangkok has slapped a student activist after she held up a protest sign at the facility. The confrontation occurred at around 2.30pm yesterday, when the Thammasat University student displayed a sign that read, “You monopolised the vaccine so the Monarchy could take the credit.”

The student, named as 21 year old Benja Apan, was quickly surrounded by at least 7 staff members, with one security guard grabbing the sign before pushing away a camera that was recording the development. A sharp sound is then heard, followed by Benja screaming that the guard has hit her. She proceeds to call for help, while the men continue trying to restrain her.

VIDEO: Matichon TV

According to a Coconuts report, Benja and an unnamed associate appeared shortly after at Pak Khlong San Police Station, saying the security guards from the mall had taken them there. It’s understood the organisation Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have provided Benja with a lawyer. A number of protesters also gathered at the police station in a show of support for the student, while speaking to police about the actions of the security guard accused of hitting her.

A representative of the shopping mall has apologised for the confrontation, saying it’s investigating what happened. It says people should not voice political opinions on its premises.

Thailand has set aside 6 billion baht to produce the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine locally. The manufacturer, Siam Bioscience, is a new pharmaceutical company owned by the palace.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Thailand

Thailand’s PM asks people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s PM asks people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM is asking people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health due to the recent cooler weather. As the country is still not out of the woods with the recent Covid-19 breakout, the cold weather, in the northern half of the country, is adding to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s health concerns for Thai people.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri says the situation still warrants the government’s role to exercise its power under the emergency decree and Communicable Disease Act to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

He says all gatherings should be avoided, but is emphasising political ones and is thanking the “majority who have cooperated.” Now, he says the government is set to introduce more measures to help those affected by the new round of Covid and are preparing new economic stimulus programs.

Anucha says another high pressure system from China will cover northern Thailand starting from today and lasting through January 19. The system would see temperatures drop by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in the northern and central areas of Thailand with the northeastern area seeing a drop of 4 to 6 degrees. PM Prayut has also asked people to be careful when setting up bonfires to keep warm during the cold spell.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Student arrested in dormitory at night, charged with lèse majesté offences

Maya Taylor

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Student arrested in dormitory at night, charged with lèse majesté offences | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TLHR Twitter / Lawyer Center for Human Rights

A student at Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus has been arrested and charged with violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law. Ironically, it was his calls for the law to be abolished that led to Sirichai Natueng, aka, “New”, being charged. The group, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, has confirmed the student’s arrest on its Twitter page.

After being taken into custody, the pro-democracy activist was driven to Khlong Luang police station, in the central province of Pathum Thani, just outside Bangkok. Other anti-government activists, including Parit Chiwarak, aka, “Penguin”, and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul (“Rung”) followed, accompanied by representatives from TLHR.

Since the arrest, the hashtags #saveนิวมธ (Save New) and #ยกเลิกม112 (Cancel Section 112) have been trending on Twitter. Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code is the law governing lèse majesté, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Sirichai, a member of the pro-democracy group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, has been charged with 2 lèse majesté offences. He is accused of defacing an image of the Monarchy, as well as the Rangsit campus sign, with graffiti calling for the abolition of the lèse majesté law.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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