• Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:05 am

Thai PM says illegal protests must be controlled as parliament opens

  • Published at 01:53 pm October 26th, 2020
Int'l- Thai PM says illegal protests must be controlled as parliament opens
Pro-democracy protesters attend an anti-government protest in Bangkok, Thailand October 25, 2020 Reuters

Prayut, the former military chief who staged the 2014 coup, has faced increasing pressure in recent weeks from tens of thousands of protesters demanding his resignation

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said Thailand needs to bring "illegal protests" under control on Monday as he opened a special parliamentary session to discuss months of pro-democracy rallies.

Prayut, the former military chief who staged the 2014 coup, has faced increasing pressure in recent weeks from tens of thousands of protesters demanding his resignation.

The student-led rallies are calling for Prayut's resignation, a rewrite of the military-scripted constitution and an end to alleged government harassment of political opponents.

"Though the people have the freedom to protest based on the constitution, authorities need to control the illegal protests," said Prayut, who recalled parliament from recess last week.

"We do not want to see clashes or riots in the country," he said, accusing some protesters of "inappropriate actions."

While Prayut acknowledged the protesters' demands in his opening speech, the two-day parliamentary session has not listed them on its agenda.

However, an incident this month when protesters flashed three-finger salutes -- a symbol of their movement -- at Queen Suthida's motorcade is up for discussion.

Such an overt challenge is unprecedented in Thailand, where the royal family is protected under harsh anti-defamation laws and criticism of them is taboo.

"The protesters say it was not in the plan for the Queen to pass that way, but the government says she can go anywhere," said Tankhun Jittitsara, one of the secretaries of House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

After that incident, the premier imposed emergency measures banning gatherings of more than four, while authorities arrested scores of activists.

Three activists were also charged under a rarely used law banning "violence against the Queen", which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prayut revoked the emergency measures a week later when they failed to discourage thousands turning up in "guerrilla" protests across Bangkok.

The demands for royal reform from some protesters include the abolition the royal defamation law, a clear accounting of the palace's finances, and a call for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to stay out of politics.

Pro-royalist groups have emerged in response to these unprecedented challenges, holding counter-rallies to pronounce their love for the king.

On Monday, dozens of supporters in yellow shirts -- the royal colour -- gathered outside Parliament, telling MPs not to reform the monarchy.

A student group has called for anti-government protesters to march Monday afternoon to the German embassy -- in apparent defiance to the king, who has spent long stints of time in Germany.

50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail