Protest leader insists on raising “sensitive issues” during this weekend’s rally
Reform of the Thai Monarchy, part of the ten-point manifesto, published for the first time at a rally on August 10th, will definitely be raised at this weekend’s rally at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus, said Ms. Panasaya Sitthichirawattanakul, one of the leaders of the Thammasat Alliance group.
Ms. Panasaya shot to public attention for her daring reading of the 10-point manifesto at the rally, held at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus.
In an exclusive interview with Thai PBS, ahead of the planned mass protest tomorrow, Ms. Panasaya says she understands the sensitivity of the Monarchy issue and that many people disagree with them, because it is new in Thai society for the subject to be discussed openly.
“But I would like them (the opponents) to open up their minds and to listen to our demands for reform of the Monarchy, so that it will stay with us under the Constitution, in line with a modern society in the era of globalization, and for the institution to be revered by the people,” said the young protest leader.
Since the students have broken the ice on this sensitive issue, she said that their mission now is to keep it alive, until it reform is accomplished. She admitted, however, that cooperation from the Government and Parliament is essential for the success of the mission, which she calls their “dream”.
She made clear that this issue is non-negotiable with the university administration, which is against the raising of the subject on the Tha Prachan campus.
Asked what the protesters expect to achieve out of the ten points in the manifesto, she said repeal of the lèse majesté law, or Section 112 of the Criminal Code which, she said, has discouraged many people from discussing the issue in public.
After this protest, Ms. Panasaya said she expects the proposals in the manifesto to be implemented step by step.
Regarding the closure of the Tha Prachan campus this weekend, reportedly for security reasons, she said that the protesters will press ahead with using the campus, adding “If they chain the gates, we will cut the chains. The venue is the soul of Thammasat, the symbol of the fight for righteousness, for justice against injustice and for democracy.”
The young protest leader also said that the protest organizers have arranged their own security and logistics, to ensure the safety of the venue and the protesters.