Army chief concerned about activist criticism of Thai Monarchy on social media
Army Commander-in-Chief General Apirat Kongsompong said today that he is uncomfortable with some student activists using improper language about the Monarchy on social media.
While admitting that student activists have the right to free expression, he said that there are limits, they must not infringe on the rights of the other people and that impolite words should be avoided.
General Apirat said that the army has been monitoring a recent increase in anti-government activity by students, but have not yet taken action, while assuring that there will not be a repeat of the tragic events of October 6th, 1976, when student activists were crushed by right-wing extremists and border patrol police, following the dramatization of a hanging at Thammasat University.
General Apirat referred to a study, conducted by BBC Thailand about conspiracy theories, as he urged Thai people to take a look at the study and to consider whether the theories could be applied to current student activism.
The army chief also disclosed that he had read a book about the history of Thai military warfare, authored by a niece of Maj-Gen Chakchai Supangkasen, which refers to the 1932 political upheaval in Siam and the transformation of the country from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy.
He said, however, that he is not worried about the attempt, by some student activists and politicians, to revive the events of 1932, adding that the police have been looking into it.
Asked by a reporter about a recent incident, in which a student activist, Prit Chivarak, or Penquin [sic], tore up his picture during a rally held in front of the army headquarters, the army chief said, jokingly, that he would send “Batman to handle Penquin [sic], because Penquin [sic] has always been defeated by Batman”.
Meanwhile, a group of student activists rallied in front of Government House to demand the ouster of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the dissolution of parliament and the writing of a new Constitution.
A few hundred police were deployed, prior to the arrival of the protesters, to maintain peace and order. The rally was peaceful, except for the burning of drawings of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Similar protests were held today at Kasetsart University and Triam Udom Suksa pre-university school in Bangkok and in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima.