Activists to rally for fixed election date
Pro-election activists vowed to proceed with a rally on Saturday as they aim to press the government into getting its act together in organising a poll that keeps being deferred, but students at Ramkhamhaeng University denounced the demonstration.
Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat, a member of the People Who Want Elections group, posted a message on Facebook yesterday saying the rally would kick off at 4pm. The venue was switched from Democracy Monument to Thammasat University's Tha Phra Chan campus.
This was intended to avoid any clashes with counter rallies, Mr Sirawith wrote in the post. He said a group called Unity Before Elections was attempting to organise a rival demonstration in a bid to silence the one planned by his group.
Unity Before Elections said they would rally at Democracy Monument from 3pm.
Mr Sirawith's group is demanding the election takes place no later than March 10, referring to a constitutional requirement for the poll to take place within 150 days of the enactment of a law on the election of MPs, which has already taken place.
They said their demonstration would go ahead unless a royal decree announcing the election date was published yesterday. As of press time that had not happened and seemed unlikely.
The Council of Ramkhamhaeng University Students and the Network of Ramkhamhaeng Students Protecting the Institution and the People called on the pro-election activists yesterday to stop "fomenting conflict" and call off their protest.
Kittipong Thaenkhun, president of the council, said such a move was not appropriate as the country prepares for the coronation of Rama X on May 4-6.
"Imposing a deadline for the royal decree to come out and planning a rally are not appropriate. The council and the network want the group and those behind it to stop such activities," Mr Kittipong said.
"We also want those who disagree with the pro-election group's actions to express themselves through various channels in a peaceful manner."
Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak led students to submit an open letter at Government House on Friday calling for a fixed date for the election.