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Thammasat bans Sept 19 rally

BANGKOK: Thammasat University on Thursday (Sept 10) denied permission for an anti-government rally at its Tha Phra Chan campus scheduled for Sept 19.

politics
By Bangkok Post

Friday 11 September 2020, 08:30AM


Students leaders flash the three-fingers salute against dictatorship during a media conference on Wednesday at Thammasat University announcing a major anti-government rally on Tha Prachan campus. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

Students leaders flash the three-fingers salute against dictatorship during a media conference on Wednesday at Thammasat University announcing a major anti-government rally on Tha Prachan campus. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

The university in a statement reasoned that the organiser had yet to comply with its guidelines on holding political activities on campus, reports the Bangkok Post.

The rejection came a day after Parit Chiwarak, a core member of the students’ Free Youth group, unveiled details of the “Sept 19: Return power to civilians” rally while a group of alumni stepped up calls for the university administrators to veto the event.

The university’s guidelines, which were issued on Sept 3, were designed to promote learning about civil rights, liberties and responsibility while obeying the law and the constitution and taking into account the safety of the students, according to the statement.

The guidelines were signed by Thammasat rector Assoc Prof Gasinee Witoonchart and were issued following the Aug 10 rally at Thammasat’s Rangsit campus where student activists announced the controversial 10-point demand for the reform of the monarchy, which drew fierce criticism of the university administrators by ultra-royalists.

Manit Suksomjit, a member of Thammasat University’s council, said a group of alumni led by law academic Kaewsan Athibodhi would meet today at the Tha Phra Chan campus to discuss why the Sept 19 rally should not be allowed and propose their suggestions to the university administration.

However, Mr Parit, also known as Penguin, was defiant after the university issued the statement. He posted a Facebook message saying that the rally would go ahead anyway.

“Although executives of Thammasat University will not allow the venue at Tha Prachan to be used for the gathering, we will still hold it at Thammasat because Thammasat belongs to the people, not to some dictators’ lackeys,” he wrote.

Mr Parit on Thursday turned up in Khon Kaen where he and five others, including student activist Jatupat "Pai Dao Din" Boonpattarasaksa, were summoned by Muang police station to answer charges in connection with the rally in the province several weeks ago.

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National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said on Thursday Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told the police to be patient and avoid the use of force, emphasising that police will do nothing to provoke a confrontation with demonstrators.

He said that police will be responsible for maintaining peace and order at the rally when asked if troops would be mobilised given that the emergency decree is still in effect.

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former member of the Election Commission, said on Thursday he supported the students’ push for charter change but urged them to consider reviewing some activities planned for the rally.

Meanwhile, the Free Youth movement on Thursday posted a message on Facebook denouncing police for allegedly summoning a 17-year-old student who joined the Aug 1 rally in Ratchaburi for questioning.

The group claimed the student was among five people accused of violating the emergency decree and the law on public gatherings.

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, co-founder of the Progressive Movement, on Thursday denied allegations that he was pulling the strings behind the students’ rally.

He said the students could think for themselves and their demonstrations were part of the democratic system.

 

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