Foreign students not barred from political gatherings, says Immigration

Foreign students not barred from political gatherings, says Immigration

Anti-government demonstrators gather at Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Sunday. Foreign students can take part, if they stay within the law, says the immigration chief.(Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Anti-government demonstrators gather at Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Sunday. Foreign students can take part, if they stay within the law, says the immigration chief.(Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Foreign students are not barred from taking part in political gatherings, so long as their actions stay within the law, Immigration Bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang said on Wednesday.

Pol Lt Gen Sompong was reacting to an announcment by an education institute in Pathum Thani province warning foreign students against taking part in political gatherings. It said they risked having their visas revoked, citing an order from the Immigration Bureau.

The immigration chief said the warning might have arisen from a misunderstanding.

He said the immigration office of Pathum Thani had earlier contacted all education institutes in the province to express concern that if foreign students took took part in political protests they could risk being infected with Covid-19.

"Please be assured that the Immigration Bureau has never issued an order to ban foreign students from political gatherings. We only want them to be careful about the pandemic. The bureau understands well about people's rights under the Thai constitution," Pol Lt Gen Sompong said.

However, the bureau chief said he would like to ask foreign students to be careful not to break the law. A criminal offence could affect their status as students in Thailand.

They could take part in political gatherings only if they stayed within the scope of the law, he said.

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