Academic coalition calls on Thaksin to quit

BANGKOK (The Nation): More than 40 academic groups yesterday called for the prime minister’s resignation and warned that existing discord could lead to civil war.

“Thaksin Shinawatra must halt all political activities immediately and allow an investigation into alleged abuses of power,” said Anan Laolertworakul, a leader of a network of 43 academic groups.

Anan urged civil servants to ignore “unjustified instructions” from the Thaksin administration.

The academics will organise peaceful rallies at their universities to highlight Thaksin’s flawed leadership, he said.

Prawit Listapornwongsa, a representative of rural doctors, said Thaksin should listen to medical opinion suggesting his mental health was questionable, rather than trying to punish the state psychiatrist who offered it.

Judging from his sagging popularity, the prime minister should relinquish office before he has only his closest family as supporters, Rangsit University lecturer Thaweekiart Prasertcharoensuk said.

Thaweekiart said academics and university officials would wear black on Wednesdays in a gesture of opposition.

Anti-Thaksin campaigner Sangsit Piriyarangsan urged government opponents around the country to put on yellow shirts on September 9 to coincide with an opposition rally in Bangkok. “Yellow is the colour of the anti-Thaksin campaign,” he said.

Meanwhile, Privy Council president General Prem Tinsulanonda said yesterday government officials should heed Royal advice encouraging unity and empathy for the plight of the people. “If you are to eradicate poverty, you have to empathise with the poor. Likewise, you have to understand terrorists in order to fight terrorism,” said Prem.

Prem has made a series of recent remarks seen as critical of the government and its leadership. He called for support for the monarchy to overcome the political crisis

Phuket News

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