PM – No heavy-handed response to student protests if there is no unrest

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that the Government will not take a heavy-handed approach dealing with student activists, following the controversial rally at Thammasat University on Monday night, but warned them not to cause unrest in the country.

The Prime Minister claimed, however, that the majority of the people disagreed with the Government‘s lenient approach over comments made about the Thai Monarchy during the protest.

He also dismissed claims by some student leaders that they are being followed by officials, apparently, with an intention to arrest them.

Asked by reporters, about the statement issued by 105 university lecturers, in defence of the Monday night protest and their ten-point demands related to the Monarchy, the Prime Minister said that there are tens of thousands university lecturers in Thailand and most of them had not signed the statement.

Meanwhile, Thammasat University Council on Thursday reaffirmed the university’s position as an educational institute which supports a democratic system with the King as the head of state and which recognizes the students’ right to free expression within the scope of the Constitutions and the law.

This stance was adopted by the university council, chaired by former Rector, Professor Noraniti Setthabutr, during an urgent briefing by university administrators about the controversial protest held on the university’s Rangsit campus.

At the same meeting, the administrators pledged to carry out an investigation and to report the findings to the public, adding that they will do their best to prevent violence on campus through peaceful dialogue.

Meanwhile, five student activists, associated with the Free Youth movement and Student Union of Thailand, were summoned to Nang Loeng police station to acknowledge charges of violation of the state of emergency decree by allegedly staging a protest in front of the Army headquarters on July 20th.

The five student activists include Prit “Penquin” [sic] Chivarak, a Thammasat University student.

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