Prayut targets democracy activists

Prayut targets democracy activists

PM calls protests 'backwards'

After seeing growing anti-government protests like this one near Democracy Monument last Saturday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has promised a crackdown on 'backwards' political demonstrations.
After seeing growing anti-government protests like this one near Democracy Monument last Saturday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has promised a crackdown on 'backwards' political demonstrations.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday vowed to get tough on political agitators, saying all people must be subject to the law.

He was referring to anti-coup activists stepping up campaigns against the regime. His comments came after around 500 people gathered near the Democracy Monument on Saturday to pressure the premier into holding a general election this year.

"I do not know what they want," said Gen Prayut. "They're trying to take the country backwards ... and the government cannot condone it."

He said he was concerned about university students who took part in the recent protest, as they could face prosecution.

"I do not make threats. Laws are laws. They must be enforced equally," Gen Prayut said after a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) meeting.

He claimed that the government and the NCPO have no intention of gagging or hurting anyone and argued that the administration has already been lenient by giving warnings and granting bail. But the same groups still make trouble.

Referring to activists who vowed to continue protesting for an election, Gen Prayut said the media should tell them they are breaking the law and causing trouble for motorists.

"As you [the protesters] say your human rights and liberties have been violated, I would ask whether other people, who do not take part in rallies, do not have rights and liberties? You should think about others," Gen Prayut said.

Referring to reports that politicians are travelling to meet former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra overseas, Gen Prayut said he has not banned anyone from doing so, but they must not be involved in any plots aimed at overthrowing the government.

Referring to government efforts to seek their extradition, Gen Prayut said this depends on the country they are in.

"We cannot apprehend them overseas. This is the matter of boosting understanding with [other countries], and I have tried to do all I can," he said.

Meanwhile, the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) yesterday said it disagreed with four points in the bill passed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on the election of MPs.

They concern staging concerts during poll campaigns, extending the voting time to 7am-5pm from 8am-4pm, allowing people to help disabled voters cast their votes as well as depriving people of their right to serve in certain positions, including political posts, if they fail to cast a vote.

Things could be settled via talks among a joint panel consisting of the NLA, CDC and the Election Commission, said CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit.

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Vocabulary

  • apprehend (verb): to catch; to arrest - จับ, จับกุม
  • boost: to increase; to strengthen - เพิ่ม; ทำให้มีกำลังมากขึ้น
  • cast: (of a vote) to vote by putting marking your voting paper (ballot) and putting it in the ballot box - ลงคะแนน
  • condone: to approve of behaviour that most people think is wrong - ยอม,ไม่เอาผิด
  • deprive: to prevent someone from having something -
  • enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม
  • extradition: sending someone accused of a crime back to the country where the crime was committed for trial or punishment - การส่งผู้ร้ายข้ามแดน
  • gag: to prevent someone from speaking or saying something -
  • grant bail: (of a court) to allow someone suspected of a crime to temporarily go free before the trail after payment of bail - ให้ประกันตัวออกไป
  • lenient: not strict; not giving someone as strong a punishment as you could - ลงโทษสถานเบา หรือให้ความเมตตา
  • overthrow: to force a leader or government out of power - ขับไล่ออกจากอำนาจ
  • panel: a group of people who make decisions or judgments - คณะกรรมการ
  • plot: a secret plan to do something bad - แผนการลับ
  • pressure: to try to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way - กดดัน
  • rally: a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม
  • threat (noun): an occasion when someone says or does something that indicates they will cause you harm or problems, especially if you do not do what they want you to do - การคุกคาม,การขู่เข็ญ
  • violate: to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
  • vow: a serious promise - สาบาน
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