A majority of people agree with the three demands raised by the Free People group, believing they are in line with democratic principles, but some believe that the demonstrators must not infringe on the monarchy, according to the result of an opinion survey by the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll.
The poll was conducted online on Aug 16-21 on 197,029 people across the country.
Asked what they think about the ongoing anti-government protests by students, with each respondent allowed to choose more than one answer:
59.11% said they are making demands as allowed in democracy;
41.76% said they must not infringe on the monarchy;
40.41% were concerned about their security and the danger they could be attacked;
40.10% said all concerned should listen to what they say;
38.90% thought they might have some clandestine supporters;
33.79% said the students are showing the people have the right to freedom of expression;
28.64% thought they are sowing division and creating disorder;
28.29% said the demonstrations are part of a political game;
26.53% said the demonstrations are a show of opinions by people of a new generation who want the country to undergo reform; and
26.48% said they are calling for changes for the betterment of the country.
Concerning the demand for a "constitutional amendment", 62.84% agreed with it, with some saying the present constitution is undemocratic and perpetuating dictatorship, and that the provision governing senators must be amended, while others said only problematic sections should be amended and that the people should take part in the drafting of the new constitution as the existing one is out of date and not suitable to the present situation.
A total of 24.84% disagreed, saying the existing charter is good enough and there are now many more urgent problems such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic slump; and 12.31% had no comment.
On the demand that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha should "resign or dissolve parliament", 53.88% agreed with it, saying Gen Prayut has failed in his administration, causing the country to be plagued with economic problems, corruption and nepotism as he is the perpetrator of dictatorship and lacks the legitimacy to remain in the position; 38.43% disagreed, saying Gen Prayut is a good and honest person who has sacrificed for the country and that since he won an election, he should be allowed to complete the four-year term; and 7.69% had no comments.
As for the demand for the government to "stop intimidating" the people, 59.47% agreed with it, saying that the people should be free to express their opinions without being intimidated; 29.19% disagreed, reasoning that government authorities are duty-bound to enforce the laws to prevent anarchy; and 11.34% had no comment.
Asked about their overall opinions on the ongoing student demonstrations, 53.71% supported them, saying they are exercising fundamental rights with a clear intention of wanting to see true democracy; 41.17% disagreed, saying that if the demands are extended to infringe on the monarchy there may be a state of disorder while the country is struggling to contain the Covid-19 spread and the sagging economy; and 5.12% had no comments.