Pheu Thai demands free speech on charter

Pheu Thai demands free speech on charter

Key figures of the Pheu Thai Party gather at their headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday before it issues a statement on Friday to demand free campaigns for or against the draft charter which drafters said was designed to fight against corruption. (Pheu Thai Party photo)
Key figures of the Pheu Thai Party gather at their headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday before it issues a statement on Friday to demand free campaigns for or against the draft charter which drafters said was designed to fight against corruption. (Pheu Thai Party photo)

The Pheu Thai Party on Friday demanded free speech during the countdown for the scheduled Aug 7 referendum on the draft constitution.

The party, originally founded as Thai Rak Thai by Thaksin Shinawatra, also asked the junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to remove the new police powers it gave last week to all military officers.

In its statement released Friday, Pheu Thai, which had won recent general elections, said that since the coup of May, 2014, there have been constant violations of civil rights and personal freedom.

The statement singled out military detention of critics for attitude adjustment, saying that such actions discouraged open expression and freedom of speech.

It referred to the NCPO's recent order empowering military officers to make arrests, detentions, searches and seizures without a warrant, and pointed to the seizure of red plastic bowls Pheu Thai had planned to give to Thais ahead of the Songkran festival.

Such extreme exercise of authority would not lead to national reconciliation and order, Pheu Thai said.

The party demanded an end to limitations on free speech and civil rights. It said that lifting limitations would facilitate national reconciliation.

The statement said that if the public, academics, mass media and political parties all have freedom to comment on the draft charter and recommend whether to support it, the outcome of the charter referendum would be generally accepted and recognised,

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