Lecturers, students petition PM against use of violence

Lecturers, students petition PM against use of violence

Govt given one week to act on list of demands

Riot police use water canon to disperse anti-government demonstrators near Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok last Friday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Riot police use water canon to disperse anti-government demonstrators near Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok last Friday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

About 50 lecturers and students of the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights (TANC) on Tuesday morning submitted a petition, signed by 1,118 lecturers from various universities, to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking the government to stop using violence against protesters.

The petition gives the government one week to act on this and other demands.

Led by Anusorn Unno, former rector of the faculty of sociology and anthropology at Thammasat University, they gathered int the university's Tha Phrachan campus before walking to Government House.

In front of Government House, the group stopped at the Chamai Maruchet Bridge. There, Mr Anusorn read out the petition.

The petition condemned the use of violence to disperse demonstrators of the People's Group at Pathumwan intersection on Oct 16, saying it was not in line with international standards, and the government must be held responsible for the mistake it had made.

"We call for the government to stop using laws, such as the Computer Crime Act, as a tool to get rid of people who hold different opinions.

"The government must revoke the emergency decree for a serious situation in Bangkok, withdraw charges filed against those arrested and release them immediately, without conditions."

The statement went on to call for the government to give serious consideration to the issues raised by protesters - Gen Prayut's resignation, charter amendment and reform of the monarchy.

A committee comprising representatives of the people, academics and students should be set up to study the demands, the petition said.

The group then marched to Government House to submit the petition.

The petition was accepted by Prateep Kiratirekha, the prime minister's deputy secretary-general for political affairs, and Thirapat Prayoonsri, permanent secretary of the prime minister's office.

Mr Anusorn said if the prime minister did not respond, the group would ask university lecturers who are members of the TANC to skip teaching classes in protest.

"We will not yet take this step, but will wait to see how the government responds to our demand. If there is no satisfactory response, we will consider taking this and other measures," he said.

Mr Anusorn said the group would give the government one week to act - to at least stop dispersing the protesters, release arrested core protest leaders on bail, stop using laws to get rid of people holding different opinions, and revoke the emegency decree imposed in Bangkok.

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