11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has decided to get tough with anti-establishment protesters, by invoking and strictly enforcing every existing law and every section of the law, to deal with law-breaking protesters.

The iron-fisted approach by the prime minister comes after two consecutive days of protests, one in front of parliament on Tuesday, which saw police clash with defiant protesters who broke through barriers into a 50-metre restricted zone, and the protest in front of the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police on Wednesday.

Protesters vandalized police property, by splashing paint on the police name plaque and spray-painting several CCTV cameras, to vent their anger after the iLaw draft constitutional amendment, which they support, was rejected by parliament.

A statement, issued today by the prime minister, said that the government and relevant authorities have tried all peaceful means, based on legal procedure and democratic governance, to resolve the current political conflict, adding that the government has been sincere in its desire to resolve the problem while security agencies have tried to maintain peace and order with restraint, in full awareness of the need for national unity and reconciliation for the benefit of the majority of the people in Thailand.

The statement goes on to say, however, that, despite these efforts, the situation has not eased, but is escalating, which may lead to more violence and damage to the country, the Monarchy and the safety of life and property, if allowed to persist.

As such, the government finds it necessary to enforce every law strictly, to deal with protesters who break the law or who trespass on the rights of the other people, in accordance with international standards of justice.

A legal expert pointed out that mentioning “every section of the law” can be interpreted as meaning that Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lèse majesté law, which has not been invoked for quite some time, may be used against those who offend the Monarchy.