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Hundreds rally for justice at Thammasat

Hundreds rally for justice at Thammasat

THAILAND: Hundreds of people gathered at the Tha Prachan campus of Thammasat University last night (Feb 22) to demand a return of justice in the country following the dissolution of the Future Forward Party.

By Bangkok Post

Sunday 23 February 2020, 09:03AM

Participants light candles during a pro-democracy rally at the Tha Prachan campus of Thammasat University last night (Feb 22).  Photo: Aekarach Sattaburuth

Participants light candles during a pro-democracy rally at the Tha Prachan campus of Thammasat University last night (Feb 22). Photo: Aekarach Sattaburuth

The call went out earlier in the day via a message posted on the Facebook page of the Student Union of Thailand, inviting people to join a “flash mob” starting at 5:30 pm.

Social critic Sulak Siviraraksa and former human rights commissioner Ankhana Neelapaijit were among the participants, numbering over 500.

Organisers prepared two large blank banners for people to write on to express their feelings. In less than 30 minutes, the banners were filled with messages expressing discontent with the government led by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and what they perceive as injustice in society.

The gathering came just a day after the Constitutional Court dissolved the Future Forward Party over an “irregular” loan. The anti-establishment party won 6.3 million votes in the last election and was highly popular with young voters. Its banned leaders have vowed to continue their campaign outside Parliament for the reforms that Future Forward espouses.

As plainclothes police looked on, students took turns on stage to decry the failure of the government, injustice, curbs on freedom, the sluggish economy and efforts by the former military junta to prolong its grip on power.

All of them said the disagreed with the charter court’s ruling and said they felt independent organisations had bowed to dictatorship.

It doesn’t matter who the people elect - Thai Rak Thai, People Power Party or Future Forward - they all ended up being disbanded. Maybe we should try electing Palang Pracharath so it too is dissolved,” a speaker said, referring to the main party in the governing coalition.

The participants subsequently shouted: “Prayut out!” and “Down with dictatorship. Long Live Democracy”.

The latter were the last words of Krong Jandawong, a teacher and Seri Thai activist from Sakhon Nakhon province, before facing a firing squad ordered by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat in 1961.

Ater that, the students read poems encouraging people to fight on until power truly belongs to them.

UWC Thailand

Later, candles were lit and they sang the songs For the Masses and Saeng Dao Hang Sattha by Jit Pumisak, a young leftist scholar who was killed in 1966.

The participants cleared the area and collected garbage before dispersing at around 6:30pm.

Parallel activities were also held by Student Union of Thailand affiliates in several provinces including Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok and Pattani. Some asked people to wear black and carry #SAVEDEMOCRACY posters. Others gathered to read statements and listen to pro-democracy music.

On Friday (Feb 21), the student union issued a statement strongly condemning the dissolution of Future Forward.

The disbandment lacks legitimacy both in terms of content and process ... so much so that it can hardly be called a justice process,” it said.

It also noted that the dissolution took place just three days before a no-confidence debate, thus undermining checks and balances in Parliament.

The ruling date was also “suspiciously” set for Feb 21 just hours after the House confirmed that the censure debate woud begin on Feb 24, read the statement.

The Future Forward Movement, as it is known now that it is no longer a political party, does not plan to be silent in any case.

In a message on its Facebook page, it said spokesperson Pannika Wanich would stage an “internationally scandalous” no-confidence event at its Thon Buri coordination centre from 1pm today (Feb 23).

Comment on this story

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Sir Burr | 25 February 2020 - 10:17:06

Foreigners have no access to Thai politics? Wrong. I can bribe the wife.

DeKaaskopp | 24 February 2020 - 19:51:12

Kurt, I'm not sure what your response got to do with my comment.Somehow my comment over-challenged your abilities of understanding. Better find a Dutch or German speaking forum.

Pascale | 24 February 2020 - 15:19:58

Kurt,did you even read Dek's comment ? Definitely you did not understand it as your response shows.And please name me one country where foreigners with a one year visa are allowed to access politics at a local level. You would like to contribute without even speaking their language. You are such a clown.Go and participate on a local level in your own country asap.

Kurt | 24 February 2020 - 14:30:13

World wide students protests brought down many Governments.
Thai Generals can't expect such is not happening in Thailand.  
Having plain clothes police men around student campuses is just fueling problems. Government should start democratic processes. Dissolving a democratic party is not wise. The younger thai generation knows what it wants.

Kurt | 24 February 2020 - 13:33:51

@DeK, Funny reaction. You know very well that foreigners have absolute no access to local thai politics, due to thai xenophobic 'fire walls' to keep foreigners out of everything, while instead they could contribute positively very well at local levels. In many countries foreigners can assemble at local levels.

DeKaaskopp | 23 February 2020 - 20:50:02

Rorri,waiting for other governments to do something ? Why don't you come out of your inactivity and start to do something by yourself if you are so concerned. Stop spending any more money here,return your visa and move to another country together with that twin of yours. Show them that you won't tolerate it any longer.That will teach them a lesson.

Pascale | 23 February 2020 - 17:27:14

@R.  And you think isolating countries with a questionable democracy would change anything ? It would only harm those at the lower end of the income ladder.Guess you would like to see the world separated in good and bad countries by your standards.

Jor12 | 23 February 2020 - 17:25:33

On what basis would maritime unions ban exports? It would deprive it's members of income. That is not what a union is for. You can't bring a case before the International Court of Justice. What country does Thailand have a legal dispute? It is a democracy as defined as it was elected by the people.

Rorri_2 | 23 February 2020 - 10:37:30

International maritime unions should ban all exports, from Thailand, and a case should be raised with the International Court of Justice, the junta has been allowed to get away with its abuse for far too long. Democracy.... rubbish.

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