Student organisations reject court's ruling

Student organisations reject court's ruling

Supporters of anti-government rally leaders place a model of the Democracy Monument in front of the Constitutional Court while waiting for its ruling on three rally leaders in Bangkok on Wednesday. They later set fire to it. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Supporters of anti-government rally leaders place a model of the Democracy Monument in front of the Constitutional Court while waiting for its ruling on three rally leaders in Bangkok on Wednesday. They later set fire to it. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Student organisations at major universities on Thursday rejected the Constitutional Court's ruling that three anti-government rally leaders tried to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

They also gave warning the protest movement would continue and would grow.   

The Student Council of Chulalongkorn University in a joint statement with 22 other groups of university students rejected the court's ruling on Wednesday against Arnon Nampa, Panupong Jadnok and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul. 

The 23 groups of university students included 12 student organisations at Khon Kaen, Thammasat, Maejo, Prince of Songkla (Pattani and Hatyai campuses), Chulalongkorn, Chiang Mai, Naresuan, Mahasarakham and Kasetsart universities.

In their joint statement, the student organisations said the three rally leaders' proposals for the reform of the royal institution would actually promote its dignity and free it from criticism  that would otherwise tarnish it.

They also said that the trio had not been allowed the additional hearing they sought.

The statement said the students were exercising of their right to freedom of expression and demonstration, which was protected by the constitution, and they had no intention of overthrowing the government regime.

They also said the "winds of change will gather force".

"If the blood of pro-democracy people touches the ground, the fire of the people's fight will grow uncontrollably and finally people will be the only institution that will remain permanently in the country," the joint statement said.

The Constitutional Court's ruling on Wednesday concerned the actions of the three protest leaders at a rally at Thammasat University in August last year.

Natthaporn Toprayoon, a lawyer and former adviser to the chief ombudsman petitioned the court to consider whether their actions violated Section 49 of the constitution.

The section prohibits people from using their rights and freedom to overthrow the democratic regime with the King as head of state.

The majority of Constitutional Court judges ruled the actions of the trio had covert intentions to exercise their rights and liberties to undermine and overthrow the democratic regime with the King as head of state. The judges ordered the trio and their supporters to cease and desist.

At a rally at Thammasat University's Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district on Aug 10 last year, Ms Panusaya read out a set of 10 demands that included reform of the monarchy. This shocked many people, who accused the protesters of crossing the line.

On Thursday Cholnan Srikaew, leader of the opposition-core Pheu Thai Party, said that the court's ruling could lead to divisions over statements rejecting it. His party proposed the House set up a special committee as a forum for concerned parties to discuss the issue.

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