Royalist group converges near parliament to submit letter of protest
A royalist group, led by Dr. Warong Dejgivigrom, began gathering in front of Thailand’s parliament at about 9am this morning, planning to submit a letter of protest, against any changes to the current Constitution, to the Speaker of the Senate.
The demonstrators, mostly wearing yellow shirts, stopped short of the parliament compound, after police declared it a restricted zone.
A staunch royalist and leader of the pro-Monarchy Thai Pakdee group, Dr. Warong, told the media that Thai Pakdee does not just oppose the draft constitutional amendment of the iLaw NGO, but is against all seven drafts which seek to amend the existing charter, or the writing of a new charter.
He accused some elements, which he claimed were receiving foreign support, of using protest groups in their attempts to restructure the administration of Thailand. “We cannot allow this to happen and that is why we came out today to protest and to resist,” he added.
The former Democrat MP of Phitsanuloke province praised the current 2017 Constitution for its success in breaking up the various political factions within political parties, which were common in the past, and for helping to save at least 30 billion baht of taxpayers’ money, which used to be allocated to each MP under the so-called “MP’s Fund”, to spend in their constituencies.
The group’s letter was received by Deputy Senate Speaker General Singsoek Singprai.
Police have used steel barriers and buses to block all road access to parliament, such as at Kiak Kai intersection, Kiak Kai pier and Bang Po intersection. About 30 police vans were also put on standby in front of the parliament compound.
Motorists are advised to avoid using Samsen Road, from Bang Kabue to Kiak Kai intersections, Pracharat 1, from Kiak Kai to Bang Po intersections, and Taharn Road.
Parliament President Chuan Leekpai opened the special parliamentary session shortly before 10am for the deliberation of all seven draft charter amendments.
Opposition parties and the Senate are each allocated five hours for the debate, while the government coalition has been given four hours. The debate must end at 2pm tomorrow, to be followed by a roll-call vote 6pm.