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  • Ruling party MP appointed to head constitutional drafting assembly

    Wirat Rattanaset, a Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) list MP and government chief whip, was selected on Tuesday as the president of the parliament’s committee to oversee charter amendment motions. The committee consists of 45 parliamentarians including 15 senators and 30 members of parliament. Of the 30 MPs, 8 are from PPRP, 8 from Pheu Thai […]

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    Wirat Rattanaset, a Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) list MP and government chief whip, was selected on Tuesday as the president of the parliament’s committee to oversee charter amendment motions.

    The committee consists of 45 parliamentarians including 15 senators and 30 members of parliament.

    Of the 30 MPs, 8 are from PPRP, 8 from Pheu Thai Party, 4 from Bhumjaithai Party, 3 from Move Forward Party, 3 from Democrat Party while Chartthaipattana Party, Thai Liberal Party, Prachachart Party, and New Economics Party has 1 MP each.

    It is being tasked with the vetting of the two charter amendment drafts which passed the parliament’s first reading on November 18.

    The two petitions proposed the setting up of a new constitution drafting assembly (CDA) which would either consist of 150 elected MPs and 50 experts (coalition’s petition), or 200 elected members (opposition parties’ petition).

    Wirat said the new committee will concentrate on the coalition’s amendment petition and that a sub-committee would be set up to deal with smaller details such as the qualifications of the members of the new CDA.

    He said that the parliament committee is willing to study proposals from the five rejected charter amendment petitions, including the Internet Law Reform Dialogue’s petition that was backed by 100,000 civilian signatures.

    However, the committee will disregard any proposals that would lead to any changes that is related to the power of the monarchy and royal institution, he added.

    The post Ruling party MP appointed to head constitutional drafting assembly appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21027
  • Government reconciliation committee to feature both royalists and pro-democracy protesters

    Representatives from pro-monarchy and pro-democracy protestors will be asked to join the parliament’s reconciliation committee, Chuan Leekpai, the House Speaker and former Prime Minister to Thailand, said on Tuesday. The former Prime Minister said that the structure for the Reconciliation Committee has been drafted following a meeting with the president of the senate, coalition’s chief […]

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    Representatives from pro-monarchy and pro-democracy protestors will be asked to join the parliament’s reconciliation committee, Chuan Leekpai, the House Speaker and former Prime Minister to Thailand, said on Tuesday.

    The former Prime Minister said that the structure for the Reconciliation Committee has been drafted following a meeting with the president of the senate, coalition’s chief whip, and the opposition’s chief whip.

    The aim of the committee is to lower the rising political tensions that has continued for the past five months.

    Since the summer of this year, hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets across Thailand to protest against the current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha, his administration, and for the reformation of the royal institution

    The 21 members of the committee could include:

    1. Two representatives from the protest group that disagree with the government
    2. Two representatives from the government
    3. Two MPs from the coalition
    4. Two MPs from the opposition   
    5. Two senators
    6. Two representatives from the protest group that agree with the government
    7. Nine experts including five academics and four other experts on reconciliation processes

    Chuan added that Kunawut Tantrakul, the Deputy Secretary-General of the House of Representatives, has been appointed as the Secretary of the Reconciliation Committee.   

    He said the first meeting of the Committee has also resulted in the agreement that the parliament should debate and vote for the referendum bill, which is needed for the Charter Amendment process on December 1.

    The former Prime Minister also said that the Committee has agreed with the petition made by Paiboon Nititawan, an MP from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), for the constitutional court to rule on the legality of the parliament’s current attempt to rewrite the charter.

    Suthin Khlangsaeng, the chief opposition whip and a Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, said there is “some hope” for the success of this Reconciliation Committee.

    However, the success will largely depend on whether or not all of the invited parties will agree to join.

    The post Government reconciliation committee to feature both royalists and pro-democracy protesters appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21034
  • Leader of protest guards arrested one day before planned rally

    The leader of We Volunteer (WeVo), a group of volunteers that keeps safety and decorum at anti-government rallies, was arrested on Tuesday by police just 24 hours before a planned large scale rally in front of the Crown Property Bureau. Piyarat “Toto” Chongthep, the leader of WeVo, was arrested by police in Bangkok for violating […]

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    The leader of We Volunteer (WeVo), a group of volunteers that keeps safety and decorum at anti-government rallies, was arrested on Tuesday by police just 24 hours before a planned large scale rally in front of the Crown Property Bureau.

    Piyarat “Toto” Chongthep, the leader of WeVo, was arrested by police in Bangkok for violating section 116 of the criminal code. The sedition charges carry a lengthy jail sentence of up to seven years.

    Thai legal groups and other members of We Volunteer told Thai Enquirer that Piyarat will be transferred by police to Ubol Ratchathani where he faces similar charges and will likely mean that Piyarat will not be on the ground during Wednesday’s protest.

    “We are unaware of what charges he will face, but it should be one of the cases in the past” Bas, a WeVo guard, told Thai Enquirer. He declined to give his full name citing safety concerns.

    “This is a decisive move by the government to eliminate the most troublesome aspects of the protests including leaders who are in charge of the protester’s safety,” said Thai political analyst Arun Saronchai.

    “By arresting Toto, the government has ensured more chaos at the protest and makes it easier for the security forces to deal with the protesters,” he told Thai Enquirer by phone.

    Protest leaders had called for a rally at the Democracy Monument scheduled for Wednesday. The protesters will then march to the Crown Property Bureau to submit a petition to reform the royal institution.

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    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21036
  • Senators say political tensions can be eased with military classes

    Several members of the ruling party said on Wednesday that the current political turmoil is because the students lack any sound, proper guidance. The senators said that the current history curriculum does not concentrate enough on the origin of Thai people, the ancestors, and the royal institution. They also suggest that schools teach more civic […]

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    Several members of the ruling party said on Wednesday that the current political turmoil is because the students lack any sound, proper guidance.

    The senators said that the current history curriculum does not concentrate enough on the origin of Thai people, the ancestors, and the royal institution.

    They also suggest that schools teach more civic duty and how to exercise freedom without affecting other people’s rights, moral ethics, and military subjects.

    Schools should also teach military classes and discipline, said senator Anusak Kongmalai.

    Anusak said rapid social changes has led a situation where the youth do not have proper guidance and therefore are channeling their creativity in a way that is not beneficial for the country.

    The post Senators say political tensions can be eased with military classes appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21028
  • SET buoyed by more positive vaccine news

    The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index rose by 10.12 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 1,430.55 during morning trading on Tuesday as the market responded to buoyant news about the coronavirus vaccine. Analysts at Krungsri Securities expected the SET index to climb up between 1,435 and 1,445 points from foreign funds inflows which accounted […]

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    The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index rose by 10.12 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 1,430.55 during morning trading on Tuesday as the market responded to buoyant news about the coronavirus vaccine.

    Analysts at Krungsri Securities expected the SET index to climb up between 1,435 and 1,445 points from foreign funds inflows which accounted for 5.7 billion baht of trading in Thai stock market last week.

    Another factor that could boost the sentiment is that the president-elect Biden would pick Janet Yellen, an economist and former Federal Reserve Chairwoman for Treasury Secretary, the analysts added.

    However, the research team warned that investors should beware of selling pressure ahead of the scheduled protest on Wednesday.

    Likewise, an analyst at TISCO Securities also predicted that the market would still be tied to the political tensions.

    “The uncertainty should still be a disturbing factor and may pressure the market and lead to some outflows,” said an analyst at TISCO.

    The post SET buoyed by more positive vaccine news appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Main
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21024
  • Why Thais Stand With Joshua Wong

    On November 23, Joshua Wong pled guilty to organizing and inciting an unauthorized assembly near the police headquarters in Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests. He is remanded in custody, awaiting a December 2nd sentence that could see him and two other activists facing up to three years in jail. “What we are doing now is […]

    The post Why Thais Stand With Joshua Wong appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    On November 23, Joshua Wong pled guilty to organizing and inciting an unauthorized assembly near the police headquarters in Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests. He is remanded in custody, awaiting a December 2nd sentence that could see him and two other activists facing up to three years in jail.

    “What we are doing now is to explain the value of freedom to the world,” Wong announced outside the court, as he plead guilty to two of three charges (inciting and organizing illegal assembly, but not knowingly taking part in an unauthorized assembly). Fellow Demosistō organizer, Agnes Chow, 23, pled guilty to two charges. Former Demosistō chairman Ivan Lam, 26, pled guilty to one charge.

    Already, the Milk Tea Alliance has expressed its solidarity with Wong. #StandWithJoshuaWong began trending on Thai Twitter following the announcement of Wong’s plea. Thai tweeters have highlighted Wong’s solidarity with the Thai pro-democracy cause. One user, @mayomchit, wrote: “Do not underestimate our #MilkTeaAlliance You stand with Thailand all along and now you will get a return.”

    The story of Joshua Wong has been one of a persistent underdog, almost futile in his search for a freedom that is quickly slipping away from Hong Kong’s grasp. But the power and purity of this resistance has not been lost on the Milk Tea Alliance, themselves underdogs against the growing power of China.

    Joshua Wong’s Thai Ties

    “Since the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Joshua has evolved from a street protest leader into a figurehead of pro-democracy Hong Kongers’ international lobbying efforts,” says Wilfred Chan, who covers Hong Kong for The Nation.

    Ever since his rise to fame as leader of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, Wong has been uniquely international in his outlook and approach to democracy promotion.

    Since 2015, he has become the movement’s de-facto international representative. In November 2016, Wong met with members of the United States Congress and the Senate in Washington D.C., lobbying for the introduction of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. In February 2017 he was in London, meeting British lawmakers and speaking at events in an attempt to raise awareness for Britain’s former colony.

    But a turning point in his internationalism came in Bangkok, Thailand.

    In October 2016, Wong was detained after landing at Suvarnabhumi to speak at an event at Chulalongkorn university organized by Thai student activist Netiwit Chotipatpaisal. Wong had no access to his lawyer, or his parents.

    “I was afraid I would be the next Gui Minhai (桂敏海), and be kidnapped from Thailand and taken to China,” relayed Wong in an interview with Edward White of The News Lens. Gui was a bookseller who was abducted in Thailand and resurfaced on Chinese state television. On Facebook, Demosistō posted: “Demosistō strongly condemns the Thai government for unreasonably limiting Wong’s freedom and right to entry and requests the immediate release of Wong.”

    After 12 hours of detention, Wong was safely deported. The event demonstrated Beijing’s influence in the region and on the Thai government. But the event taught Wong something important: that resisting authoritarianism at home meant resisting it everywhere.

    “It is quite ironic; I am holding the passport of Hong Kong SAR, under China, while I use this passport to go to Bangkok, I can’t get any safety or security from China,” he related to White. “It let me learn a lesson about the importance of freedom.”

    Wong and the Milk Tea Alliance

    In light of his Thai experience, Wong tweeted: “I don’t think I can travel to Thailand for the rest of my life.” But he explained, “The people from two places are facing similar difficulties while fighting for the same goal: that is, democracy and freedom.”

    Wong’s understanding of the intertwined futures of Thailand and Hong Kong explains his involvement with the Milk Tea Alliance.

    In April this year, Thai, Hong Kong and Taiwanese Twitterites were brought together in a meme war against Chinese ‘wumao’ or keyboard warriors. The self-denigrating humor and advanced memery of Thai internet users won over fans in Hong Kong, who have been closely following Thailand’s 2020 pro-democracy uprising since. There has been no greater advocate for the #MilkTeaAlliance than Joshua Wong.

    Wong has tweeted publicly, and in great detail, about Thailand’s pro-democracy protests, highlighting state violence and protesters’ resilience. With the creativity of a seasoned activist, Wong wrote an open letter to tear gas supplier Non-Lethal Technologies, calling on them to suspend the sale of tear gas to the Thai police after a violent crackdown on 17 November. Wong has been instrumental in highlighting remarkable parallels between the two movements, from letting ambulances through thick crowds to the symbolism of the rubber duck.

    But the parallels are not always inspiring. They are often heartbreaking. Scenes from Central, Hong Kong of protesters shielding themselves from water cannons with umbrellas have been repeated on the streets of Bangkok. Thai protesters have borrowed hand signs and protective gear from their Hong Kong predecessors to protect them from the clouds of tear gas that have been deployed by the Thai police. Meanwhile, Thai police have also learned from their Hong Kong counterparts, lacing their water cannons with Methylene Blue. Bangkok’s streets, like Hong Kong’s, have been stained with blood and blue.

    Thai pro-democracy protesters now share the collective memory of tear gas that has been indelibly marked in the minds of Hong Kong’s own protesters. In a tweet before his court hearing, Wong quoted Brian Leung, a Hong Kong activist, saying “More than language and values we share, what connects all Hongkongers is the pain.”

    Wong seems to understand that Thais, too, are connected in that pain. In a tweet on the Thai protests, Wong recalled his own arrest in Suvarnabhumi: “I have always been indebted to their [Thai activists and human rights lawyers] help. It is imperative to devote our concerns in the freedom-fighting battle in Thailand, just as how much they had cared for my advocacy and my safety back then.”

    Young people vs. the world

    Wong, 24, is part of a phalanx of young pro-democracy advocates that are threatening authoritarian governments across Asia.

    Thailand’s own pro-democracy protest leaders are university students: Penguin, Rung, Mike Rayong, Ford Tattep. Bad Student, the organization that has been primarily responsible for demanding education reform at the high school level, counts high schoolers among their organizing and leadership ranks.

    Like Wong, they have smelled tear gas. They have been arrested. They have seen the interiors of jail cell walls. Like Wong, they are unafraid for what comes next.

    “His arrest has been long expected,” argues Chan. “Any prison term he serves will have no more than a symbolic impact on the movement, which is decentralized and basically leaderless. It could backfire on the authorities by further elevating Joshua’s stature as a prisoner of conscience.”

    Wong has highlighted that his potential sentence is far less worrying than what faces over 20 activists, journalists and pro-democracy legislators under Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Wong vows to write from jail, if that is where the Hong Kong courts send him on December 2nd.

    For all their resilience, however, we should not forget that they are underdogs. Wong faces the crushing weight of the CCP’s wrath, which grows stronger by the day. Similarly, Thailand’s young pro-democracy protesters face the weight of an establishment that includes the military, the monarchy and the conservative elite. The only resources these young leaders have is the vocal support of ‘the people’ – be they local or international.

    There is something tragic, if almost comical, about how imbalanced both fights are.

    Thai internet denizens know this. This is why they are training their eyes on Joshua Wong, with the hashtags #SaveJoshuaWong and #SaveHKThreeActivist. Infographics on Joshua Wong and the Demosistō organizers’ arrest have been translated into Thai and shared widely.

    Joshua Wong’s service to the Thai pro-democracy movement has been recognized, and it is being returned.

    The post Why Thais Stand With Joshua Wong appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21011
  • Is the Thai government really abiding by ‘international standards?’

    The unprecedented waves of protests over the past few months have rocked Thailand’s national consciousness. The protesters’ demands to “Resign, Rewrite, Reform” – for Prayut to resign; for the constitution to be rewritten; and for the monarchy to be reformed – left the government with the difficult choice of weighing how to respond.  The latest […]

    The post Is the Thai government really abiding by ‘international standards?’ appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    The unprecedented waves of protests over the past few months have rocked Thailand’s national consciousness. The protesters’ demands to “Resign, Rewrite, Reform” – for Prayut to resign; for the constitution to be rewritten; and for the monarchy to be reformed – left the government with the difficult choice of weighing how to respond. 

    The latest in the series of escalations occurred just last week on November 17 outside Parliament, when the Royal Thai Police used water cannons laced with chemical irritants against the People’s Movement demonstrators in quick retaliation against smoke bombs.

    Local and international media reported at least 55 injured, six from gunshot wounds. The next day, the “Royal Thai Police” sign outside of national police headquarters was drenched with paint in response to police use of force and in protest against Parliament’s rejection of iLaw’s constitutional reform proposal.

    Police, to their credit, did not intervene.

    However, on November 19, Prayut stated that the protests have gone too far and the state will enforce all laws stringently against protesters. This includes the lese majeste law, which His Majesty the King had previously requested the government not to use. 

    Interestingly enough, in the same statement, Prayut affirmed that the government will press charges against protesters in national judicial proceedings, which are in accordance with international standards. 

    With mounting controversy over police tactics, it seems increasingly doubtful that this standard is being followed.

    Stephane Dujarric, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Secretary-General stated on November 18 that it is “disturbing to see the repeated use of less-lethal […] weapons against peaceful protesters” in Thailand.

    She reminded the Thai Government to refrain from the use of force against the people who were exercising their fundamental right to peaceful protest. Despite this, the government maintained that, contrary to concerns voiced by United Nations human rights experts, its actions are in accordance with international law.

    A run down of police actions and its applicable international standards, then, may be helpful. 

    While not explicitly covered in Prayut’s statement, “international standards” refer to Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law. Thailand has the obligation to respect and protect against human rights abuses in its jurisdiction. This is found in customary law as well as treaties in which Thailand is a party to: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These rights include the right to freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19 UNDHR and ICCPR) and right to peaceful assembly (Article 21 ICCPR). 

    The most detailed guidance on appropriate government response to public disorder can be found in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement (the “Guide”), which aims to ensure that law enforcement use force only to the extent that is necessary and proportionate; the legality of state use of force depends on strict adherence to these principles.

    Law enforcement must, at all times, respect the people’s fundamental freedoms. Thus the Royal Thai Police should be able to answer to the people it is supposed to serve as to whether their use of water cannons and other forms of crackdown is truly necessary and proportionate. 

    The use of force must also be non-discriminatory (Article 2.11 of the Guide). This is especially concerning given reports of preferential treatment of pro-establishment protesters, who were reported to pass police barricades peacefully while the police deferred pro-democracy protesters with water cannons. 

    Conducting Arrests

    The Guide says that law enforcement officials when conducting arrests, hold a greater responsibility to protect the detainee’s rights, especially the right to life and physical integrity (Article 3.9). The legality of their arrest aside, evidence indicates that the police’s abhorrent treatment of protest leaders contravene this principle as well. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, fainted after being placed in a chokehold prior to release. Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak was injured with several glass fragments following a scuffle with the police. This shows that not did the police failed to fulfil their responsibility by international standards, but that they actively violated it. 

    Chemical Irritants

    The Guide also provides an outline relevant to police conduct in the protests on November 17, the date of the most violent protest thus far. Chemical irritants (i.e. tear gas) must be launched at a distance and from a high angle due to the risk of death or serious injury from impact trauma. Interestingly enough, tear gas is listed as a chemical weapon banned in war by the 1925 Geneva Protocol, but is shamefully and controversially still permissible for law enforcement use as seen in protests across the globe. The Guide allows for its lawful use only when there is an imminent threat of injury, where “imminent” is defined as a split second, or at most a matter of seconds.

    It cannot be used against nonviolent demonstrators.

    The government’s view is that they have exercised restraint by allowing the protests to go ahead. Piya Tavichai, the deputy head of Bangkok police, stated that protesters were breaking through the barriers and that police must act in order to keep members of parliament safe. However, it is difficult to imagine that this meets the requirement of “imminent threat,” especially since the protests have been largely peaceful. 

    Water Cannons

    Similarly, water cannons cannot be used at short range and only in situations of serious public disorder with a significant likelihood of loss of life, serious injury, and widespread destruction of property. It is subject to the same necessity and proportionality requirement.

    Human Rights Watch called the Government’s use of water cannons “unnecessary.”  Even worse is, according to Associate Professor Weerachai Phutdhawong at Kasetsart University, the water cannons were laced with not one, but five different types of chemical irritants. Indeed, the chemicals were so potent that it was causing rust in the water trucks – one can only imagine its effect on human skin. It is even more impossible to imagine how this can possibly meet the stringent international requirements of necessity and proportionality. 

    Kinetic Impact Projectiles

    Kinetic Impact Projectiles (i.e. bullets) must only be used in response to an imminent threat of injury and not targeted at the head, face or neck. Although police denied the use of bullets, the demonstrators’ injuries are self-evident; if the police were not the perpetrators then they have, at the very least, failed in their responsibility to ensure the people’s safe assembly.

    Rights of Children

    Lastly, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is relevant; this Convention calls for state parties, including Thailand, to protect children and young people as well as their freedom of expression. This is because the movement largely comprises high school and university students. Notably, UNICEF issued a statement calling for Thailand to uphold its obligations in this regard. However, it is quite clear that the government has yet to achieve this, given that the police has called for two “Bad Students” protest leaders to answer charges of violating the Emergency Decree by their public gathering on October 15. Even more controversially, photos have emerged of children as young as kindergarten-aged being inflicted with tear gas. 

    Concluding Thoughts

    The struggle in finding balance between public order and freedom of assembly is a universal problem that the Thai government is facing and failing. Instead of countering international organisations’ concerns, it would be wise for the government to take some of their advice. Instead, what we are witnessing are symptoms of a society that failed to allow for healthy discourse and a “democracy” where citizens cannot articulate their opinions without fear of reprisal. 

    In addition to the demonstrators’ demands, police reform is one more necessary task Thailand needs to achieve. If the government is truly genuine in its affirmation to uphold its obligations not only in the constitution it wrote but also in international law as it repeatedly stated, then it should respect the people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly by ensuring a safe space for demonstrations.

    Ultimately, this means the police must refrain from acts of violence and respect the human dignity of the people they are sworn to protect. Only then can Thailand find the right balance that a healthy democracy needs.

    By Lynn Morgan

    The post Is the Thai government really abiding by ‘international standards?’ appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21008
  • The News Summary – November 24

    The post The News Summary – November 24 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    The post The News Summary – November 24 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    24 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=21021
  • No coup coming says mastermind of last coup in 2014

    Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan denied rumors of a coup d’état on Monday despite giving similar reassurances in 2014 when he and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha launched the last coup. The Deputy Minister added said that he does not know about any special orders being made for the security forces in preparation for the […]

    The post No coup coming says mastermind of last coup in 2014 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan denied rumors of a coup d’état on Monday despite giving similar reassurances in 2014 when he and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha launched the last coup.

    The Deputy Minister added said that he does not know about any special orders being made for the security forces in preparation for the pro-democracy rally scheduled for this week.

    “No, no,” was the answer given by Prawit when asked about a possibility of a coup that was being touted by protest leader. including Anon Numpha and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak over the past weekend.

    On Sunday, Anon urged people to come out and prevent any coup attempts with means of non-violence, such as using paint and shaming the soldiers that are meant to carry out the coup.

    Anon also urged the families of the soldiers that will be carrying out the coup to help spread the news because they are usually the first to know if one is taking place.

    The protest leaders did not give evidence to support their allegations.

    Protests have gripped the nation for the past five months and another large rally is being called for by the student-led pro-democracy group, Ratsadon, at the Crown Property Bureau on November 25.

    Prawit said he is not aware of any special orders being given to the security forces in preparation for the rally, and also said that he still does not know about the “big surprise”.

    Protest leaders said last week that there will be a “big surprise” at the rally this coming Wednesday.

    Prawit reminded the protestors that they must not enter within a 150 meter radius of a government building under the Public Assembly Act.

    He also said that the police will keep a watchful eye on any third party that might be looking to use violence to create unrest, but the Deputy Minister believes that there will be no confrontation that will get out of control.

    The post No coup coming says mastermind of last coup in 2014 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    23 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=20980
  • Vocational students and red shirts join to form new ‘protest guard’ group

    We Volunteer (WeVo), the main volunteer guard group for the pro-democracy rallies, said on Monday that the formation of a new association of volunteer guards serves more as a symbolic move than a practical one. Red Shirts groups, such as the ones from Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Huai Khwang and Samut Sakhon have joined up with […]

    The post Vocational students and red shirts join to form new ‘protest guard’ group appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    We Volunteer (WeVo), the main volunteer guard group for the pro-democracy rallies, said on Monday that the formation of a new association of volunteer guards serves more as a symbolic move than a practical one.

    Red Shirts groups, such as the ones from Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Huai Khwang and Samut Sakhon have joined up with vocational school student groups and the student-led pro-democracy group, Ratsadon, at a rally on Aksa Road on Sunday.

    Before the end of the rally, ten volunteer guard groups teamed up to announce the formation of the new network of volunteer guards call, the Association of the People’s Guard (กลุ่มการ์ดภาคีเพื่อประชาชน).

    They said that they will join the rally that has been called for by the Ratsadon group at the Crown Property Bureau on November 25.

    However, Piyarat “Toto” Chongthep, the leader of WeVo, told Thai Enquirer that his group is not a part of the new association and they will continue to operate independently as normal.

    “We were already working with them at previous rallies and will continue to do so at the next one on November 25 but we will also continue operate independently from them as we have our own system such as our screening process for new volunteers,” he said.  

    Right now, there are around 300-400 volunteers with WeVo which will be identified by their new arm band at the rally on November 25.

    The Association of the People’s Guard have yet to announce whether they will continue to operate under different armbands or one emblem.

    Piyarat told Thai Enquirer that the proliferation of guard groups means it will be hard to screen volunteers and avoid impersonators.

    “The new association still does not have a clear leadership so nothing much will change where most of the operation will be figured out on site once we have identified which volunteer groups have joined on the day,” he said.

    “The formation is more of a symbolistic move but we still welcome it,” he added.

    The formation of the new association came after the Gear of Red Thonburi, one of the major vocational student groups, and a smaller group from Vocational Student Friend of Democracy, had last week asked their members not to show their emblem if they wish to join the pro-democracy rally this coming Wednesday.

    Their concern was over the use of profanity against the monarch in the push for the reformation of the institution.

    The post Vocational students and red shirts join to form new ‘protest guard’ group appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    23 November 2020
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=20999