Thai PM uncomfortable with reference to “sensitive issues” at Monday’s protest
Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, said today (Tuesday) that he feels uncomfortable with the rally at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus last night, during which some speakers touched on “sensitive issues”, which has provoked widespread criticism of the University.
He made his comments during a 75th birthday party for Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, held this morning at a foundation chaired by General Prawit.
Thammasat University has offered an apology for the alleged transgression, which was blamed on non-student protesters.
Dr. Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, a vice rector of the university, said, in a statement issued on Tuesday, that he regretted any breaches of the law, allegedly committed by non-student protesters, after he attended the protest site from 7pm to 8pm to observe the protest, which he found to be orderly and peaceful.
He said that he only learned afterward that some speakers had used some improper wording, which has provoked some public uproar.
He insisted that the University recognizes free expression on the campus, on the condition that it remains within the scope of the law “especially expressions on sensitive issues, which may cause division in society.”
According Dr. Prinya, student organizers of the rally sought permission on July 31st to use the campus grounds to repeat their demands for parliament’s dissolution, a new Charter and an end to harassment of anti-government protesters by state officials.
He insisted that the organizers had not mentioned any other issues which might be raised at the rally, adding that, after receiving the application, he held a meeting with the organizers, on August 7th, together with police from Khlong Luang district of Pathum Thani, who were invited to discuss security issues.
The police agreed to provide security for the protesters, but reminded those at the meeting that the protesters must act within the scope of the law and must avoid sensitive issues, said Prinya, adding that it was agreed that anyone who crosses the line would be held accountable.