Police slam 'illegal' protests against govt

Police slam 'illegal' protests against govt

Battle of wills: Protesters from the Student Union of Thailand and the Free Youth group attempt to break past security barricades around the Democracy Monument as police officers try to stop them from demonstrating.
Battle of wills: Protesters from the Student Union of Thailand and the Free Youth group attempt to break past security barricades around the Democracy Monument as police officers try to stop them from demonstrating.

The Student Union of Thailand and the Free Youth group rallied at the Democracy Monument on Saturday against the government, threatening to step up their protests while police said they had not asked for permission to demonstrate.

Under the banner of "We Will No Longer Tolerate", the rally was joined by students from many institutions. Parit Chiwarak, aka Penguin, a Thammasat University student and political activist, was a rally leader.

The protesters delivered speeches showing their contempt for the government's work which included calls for the revocation of the emergency decree during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Free Youth group demanded the government dissolve parliament immediately due to its failure to manage the economy, and stop threatening people by enforcing laws and using security reasons to silence them. The group also demanded the constitution be rewritten.

If the government does not respond to the demands within two weeks, the group said it would intensify the movement.

About 1,000 protesters showed up. They vowed to camp overnight at the Democracy Monument.

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Pol Lt Gen Phakkhaphong Phongphetra, travelled to the rally site to command officers providing security there. He confirmed the rally was staged without permission.

Metropolitan police officers read a statement on violations against the emergency decree to the protesters.

Deputy spokesman for the Royal Thai Police Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen said national police chief Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda expressed concerned over the young protesters.

"Expressions of different political views are permissible as long as they do not violate the laws or other people's rights," he said.

Move Forward Party spokesman Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat said he agreed with the groups' demands for the government.

If the students were prosecuted for protesting yesterday, MPs of the Move Forward Party would step out to protect them, he said.


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