Majority fear demonstrations could lead to violence: Poll

Majority fear demonstrations could lead to violence: Poll

Anti-government demonstrators led by the Free People group gather at the Democracy Monument on  Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Aug 16, 2020. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Anti-government demonstrators led by the Free People group gather at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Aug 16, 2020. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

A majority of people are concerned the demonstrations by the Free People group at Thammasat University on Aug 10 and at the Democracy Monument on Aug 16 would lead to division and violence in society, according to an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on Aug 18-20 on 1,312 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country to compile their opinions on the two demonstrations.

Asked whether they were concerned the demonstrations would lead to division and violence in society, a majority -- 61.13% -- said they were. Of that number, 34.76% saying they were somewhat worried by the protests for fear they would lead to clashes between people of different opinions, while 26.37% were very worried for fear the demonstrations would come under the influence of a third party as happened in the past, and wanted the Free People group to postpone their rallies until Covid-19 has been 100% eradicated.

On the other side, 24.16% of the respondents said they were not concerned at all because rallies are common in Thai politics and the demonstrations by the Free People groups have been peaceful.

The rest, 0.53%, had no comment or were not interested.

Asked how Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha should respond to the demonstrations -- with each respondent allowed to give more than one reply, answers were as follows:

45.27% said he should pay personal attention to problems raised by the demonstrators;

24.16% said he should dissolve parliament and call a new election;

11.43% said he should amend Section 256 of the constitution to make way for the setting up of a constitution drafting council and a new election;

11.36% suggested he listen to problems voiced by the protesters through parliamentary mechanisms;

9.07% said he should amend the constitution section by section and dissolve parliament for a new election;

9.54% said he should use state mechanisms to maintain law and order in society;

6.17% said he should stay indifferent and do nothing;

4.50% suggested he take legal action against wrongdoers; and

0.99% had no comment or were not interested.


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