11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has pleaded with protest leaders, planning to stage a rally at the Democracy Monument on October 14th, to comply strictly with the law. He said he would prefer them to not hold the protest because it may spoil the merit-making atmosphere.

October marks the end of the Buddhist Lent, ushering in a month of merit-making, or Thod-Kathin, when Thais present saffron robes and other necessities to monks at temples.

The Prime Minister said that he was not unduly concerned about the motorcade of Their Majesties the King and Queen, which will pass through the protest site on the Rajdamnoen Avenue on the same day as the planned protest, noting that the police have their own security plan to provide protection for the Royal couple.

Their Majesties are scheduled to attend a ceremony, at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, on October 14th, to make presentations to monks who have completed high-level Buddhist studies.

The Prime Minister said that he expected many people to linethe route of the motorcade, to welcome and express their goodwishes to Their Majesties.

He said he had sympathy for the students and would like them to help in protecting the country for their own future, pointing out that the land has been ruled over and protected by many kings and has been regarded as “the best in ASEAN”.

“Then, why destroy it?” he asked.

Meanwhile, a network of the Khana Ratsadon, formerly the Free Youth and Free People movements, announced today (Saturday) that the protesters will not block or disrupt the Royal motorcade.

The network, however, suggested that the police prepare an alternative route if many protesters join the protest, which may pose a traffic management problem or may risk trouble instigated by “third party” elements.

They added that the protest will be peaceful and protesters willjust raise their three-finger salute to convey their demand for reform of the Monarchy, the writing of a new constitution and the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, meanwhile, said that members of the movement, himself included, and the Kao Klai Party will definitely join the protest.