Yut-nocchio masks draw warning from army

Yut-nocchio masks draw warning from army

The 'Yut-nocchio' masks drew attention and laughs around the world after they were first brought out at an anti-government rally last Saturday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
The 'Yut-nocchio' masks drew attention and laughs around the world after they were first brought out at an anti-government rally last Saturday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The military has warned pro-democracy activists against mocking Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha by wearing so-called "Yut-nocchio" masks and urged them to refrain from public speeches attacking the government.

Last Saturday a group of activists rallying for an early general election appeared at Thammasat University in Bangkok and handed out masks that resembled Gen Prayut and referred to the fabled nose of Pinocchio, which grows longer with every lie told.

The portrayal of the prime minister was designed to ridicule him over the repeated delays in scheduling the general election, now expected by the end of next February.

"The organisers must think hard about whether mocking the country's leader that way is appropriate," said 11th Military Circle commander Maj Gen Piyaphong Klinphan, who serves as a spokesman for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Gen Prayut is a respected figure in society and so "it's not appropriate that they let their imagination go overboard with such parody," he said.

Maj Gen Piyaphong said Gen Prayut has taken pains to clarify the government's roadmap to the next election and did not deserve such treatment. The NCPO will keep an eye on the group's activities as well as those of the university which is hosting their activities, he added.

If any activists break the law, "soft to severe" legal measures will be taken, he said.

Anti-coup activist Sirawith Seritiwat said he would attend the next gathering.


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