Critics of regime's commands being kept under close watch

Critics of regime's commands being kept under close watch

Activist groups ask people to sign a petition calling for the annulment of 35 orders and announcements issued by the National Council for Peace and Order which they claim violate people’s rights, at Thammasat University in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Activist groups ask people to sign a petition calling for the annulment of 35 orders and announcements issued by the National Council for Peace and Order which they claim violate people’s rights, at Thammasat University in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Activist groups calling for the annulment of 35 orders and announcements issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) are being closely watched, regime spokesman Piyapong Klinpan says.

Activists say the orders threaten freedom of speech, hinder land management rights, and take away the basic rights of citizens.

Maj Gen Piyapong was speaking about 24 citizen networks which convened at Thammasat University's Tha Prachan campus on Monday to voice their disapproval of the orders, which they insist infringe on human rights and democratic freedom.

The groups are trying to gather at least 10,000 signatures of eligible voters so they can propose legislation to the House of Representatives in line with Section 133 of the charter.

Maj Gen Piyapong, who is also the commander of the 11th Military Circle, said the NCPO is monitoring the situation. He said the NCPO did not ban the gathering on Monday since it was held in an education institute where academics were present to share knowledge. The NCPO merely followed up the event and tried to make sure those present would not violate any laws.

Asked whether the NCPO would invite certain activists for talks, Maj Gen Piyapong said if someone needs to be brought in for discussion, the NCPO would make it public and their family members would be informed first. Commenting about political activist Srisuwan Janya, who has criticised the regime, Maj Gen Piyapong said there is no need to invite the activist for talks as he still has done nothing wrong, but the junta will keep tabs on his movements. "Currently, there is still no movement which is a cause for concern," Maj Gen Piyapong said.

Meanwhile, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) says four police officers on Tuesday turned up at the home of political activist Ekachai Hongkangwan to serve a summons. The activist, who has tried to hand a watch as a gift to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on several occasions, has been summonsed to acknowledge a charge of posting obscene images online, the TLHR said.

Gen Prawit has taken flak since pictures started circulating online of him wearing various luxury watches at public functions. None were included in the assets he declared to the anti-graft agency.

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