23 May 2024

Representatives of several Thai feminist groups held a demonstration in front of the Democrat party headquarters this morning (Monday), to protest against a series of alleged sexual assaults in Thailand’s most high profile #MeToo case to date, after its former deputy party leader, Prinn Panitchpakdi was charged with three counts of sexual harassment and assault.

Protesters danced to their feminist anthem “Sida Lui Faai” (Sida through fire), conveying how the Thai establishment places the blame on the victims of sexual abuse.

The protesters read out a statement, condemning the Democrat party spokesperson for stating that rape and sexual abuse is a personal matter which, they claim, piles more trauma and pain onto the victims.

They also noted that the former deputy party leader was also accused, but not convicted, of rape and sexual harassment in London several years ago, which disappointed many people because politicians, who are supposed to set an example and be ethical, have used their power to abuse and ruin the dignity of the victims.

They also expressed their concern that politicians will use their power to sweep the current scandal under the carpet, which could lead to further injustice.

The protesters listed their five key demands as:
1. All political parties should investigate the past criminal record of the former deputy leader of the Democrat party, including all committee memberships, particularly those related to sexual abuse.
2. An investigation of party members’ or committee members’ past abusive sexual behaviour.
3. All political parties must have a clear ethical code of conduct for all party members and committee members on sexual harassment and assault
4. Political parties should not interfere with court cases
5. Political parties should apologise sincerely to the public over the case.

Meanwhile, Government Spokesperson Ratchada Dhnadirek, as a member of the Democrat party, accepted the protesters’ key demands, while insisting that the Democrat Party has a clear policy against sexual harassment.

She said that the party has set up a centre to help those affected by the case, adding that the party is willing to listen to the public, including their suggestions and frustrations towards the party, which will be discussed during the party’s committee meeting.