Hands off the Saturday rally | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Hands off the Saturday rally

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The best outcome for Saturday's planned rally by the Pitak Siam group is to call it off. There is no urgent reason for it; it is extremely poorly timed. Organisers are taking advantage of democratic rights to try to destroy democracy. The very notion of halting all democratic reforms to allow years of regressive government is not just impossible, but zany. 

The second best outcome is to allow the misguided Pitak Siam "leaders" to have their say, without interference. Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, better known in recent days as "Seh Ai", still claims to be a patriot. He has the same right as all Thais, to speak his mind in a peaceful manner. Authorities should stand well back, and let him have his say. If there is trouble, he must be held responsible. If he goes beyond free speech to call for violence, he must also be held responsible.

This is why it is encouraging to see wiser heads prevailing over those authorities calling for emergency rule of some sort around the Royal Plaza for Saturday's gathering. National police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew has expressed concern, as has Pol Maj Gen Adul Narongsak, deputy Bangkok police chief. They expect a large crowd, perhaps 100,000 people, and fear that some "third hand" could infiltrate the crowd and cause violence.

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