11 July 2024

One of Thailand’s respected scholars, Sulak Sivaraksa, has advised students, who are calling for reform of the Thai Monarchy, to avoid referring to this institution in an improper manner and not to expect that their demands will be met in the short term.

 

He also told the students to have patience and to be open to opposing views, even though they do not agree with them.

“The most important thing about the revered institution (the Monarchy) is not to touch it in an improper way, because there are many people who love the King.  Do not express those views or, at least, the views should be moderate,” said Sulak, as he praised human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, one of the Free People movement leaders, for not criticizing the King and for praising the Monarchy.

 

In his interview with the Thai Post tabloid yesterday, Sulak urged the students to be united, or they will lose in the end, and suggested that they keep their demands alive by holding entertainment activities during their protests.

He also recommended that protesting students practice meditation which, he said, would help connect their hearts and minds and change anger into love, change selfishness into generosity.

 

Asked about other advice for the students, Sulak said avoid reference to the Monarchy, adding that, if the subject cannot be avoided, just saying something with respect, without having to glorify the institution.

Mr. Sulak is no stranger to lèse majesté charges. He was sued many times for allegedly offending the revered institution.

 

The Free People Movement ended their protest at the Democracy Monument Sunday night with a return to their three original demands, for a new Constitution, the dissolution of Parliament and no government harassment of student activists.

They also declared their two new principles, namely no national government and no coup d’états.  The demand for reform of the Monarchy was not mentioned.

 

Pol Maj-Gen Somprasong Yenthuam, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said today that police are in the process of examining evidence to see if there were any violations of the law during the protest yesterday.

Meanwhile, it is reported that students at several schools raised three fingers, a symbol of the Free People movement, during the singing of the national anthem this morning.