Activists banned from speaking about 1976 event

Activists banned from speaking about 1976 event

Two co-leaders of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) and a human rights lawyer will not be allowed to speak during the university's upcoming forum marking the 44th anniversary of the Oct 6, 1976 Thammasat University massacre, according to the organiser of the event.

The leaders, Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak, Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, and lawyer Arnon Nampa are not permitted to speak at this year's forum, said Krisadang Nutcharus, the committee member, in his Facebook post on Saturday.

He said the university executives had offered no explanation, only saying they felt uncomfortable with the presence of the three pro-democracy leaders at the forum.

The kingdom has been rocked by recent anti-government protests, which could turn violent. Although recent rallies have been largely peaceful, the events of Oct 6, 1976 are still a sensitive issue.

The forum is planned for the Sri Burapha auditorium at the university's Tha Prachan campus, Mr Krisadang said, offering his apology that the three will not be able to share their thoughts.

"[The decision] makes us understand the attitudes, views and cowardice of these executives," he said.

"The reason we organise the Oct 6, 1976 event is because we want to urge Thai society to listen to differing opinions."

Mr Krisadang added the young had sacrificed their lives during the massacre to protect rights and democracy. He said they fell because they had differing opinions.

Meanwhile, the Free Youth group has announced it will hold its next rally on Oct 14 at Democracy Monument.

The UFTD, which has amplified its monarchy reform demand, is expected to take part in the upcoming rally.

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