People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)
Despite close ties with the military government, an anti-election hyper-royalist monk has been detained for criminal association, extortion and counterfeiting a royal emblem. The incident has raised the question of whether the junta is still in full control of Thai politics.
4 years ago, on February 2, 2014, People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters forcefully shut down many polling stations in Bangkok and the South.The blockade prevented the election from being held on the same day nationwide and paved the way for the coup d'etat. After the junta took control, PDRC leaders expressed the hope that the junta would carry out this reform. In its fourth year of power, the junta has declared that elections will probably be held this year or early next year, or whenever — with no sign of the “reform before elections” that the PDRC called for so loudly.
The anti-election monk has urged the police to stop harassing his disciples after the authorities visited his temple to investigate the lèse majesté allegation against him. On 9 January 2018, Suvit Theerathammo, abbot of Wat Or Noi temple, and his lawyer visited the police’s Crimes Suppression Division to ask information about the lèse majesté lawsuit that he is facing. The monk claimed that many police officers have come to his temple and questioned his disciples about Suvit’s personal information.
A well known lawyer has pressed the public prosecutor about the rebellion case against key members of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), an anti-election movement, after three years of no progress. On 11 October 2017, Winyat Chatmontri, a renowned lawyer from Free Thai Legal Aid, submitted a petition to Kemchai Chutiwong, the new Attorney General, asking him to speed up the case against key leaders of the PDRC.
On May 22, 2014 the Thai military, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, staged a coup d’état to end several months of political and civil chaos in Thailand. At its very basic level, the chaos was caused by an on-going conflict between the so-called ‘red-shirts’, followers of the government of Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party and comprising the rural voters forming a majority of the electorate, and the ‘yellow-shirts’, an alliance between the military, the Thai elite, and the middle-class Democrat party of Abhisit Vejjajiva with a strong following in Bangkok.
The Appeal Court has dismissed the charges against a suspect known as the ‘popcorn gunman’ accused of attempting to murder red shirt protesters in February 2014. On 27 June 2017, judges read the Appeal Court’s verdict on Wiwat Yodprasit, a 25-year-old man accused of shooting at red shirt protesters during a confrontation between anti-establishment red shirts and People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) anti-election protesters in 2014.
While the junta seeks reasons to remain in power, the public, politicians and even the anti-election protesters from 2014 are increasing their demands for elections. The National Council for Peace and Order is once again attempting to delay the country’s democratisation. Late last month, Prayut posed a four-question survey through his weekly televised address.
When Ajarn Tum (Sudsanguan) Suthisorn was released from prison, Ajarn Charnvit Kasetsiri greeted her with a public message on Facebook that read, “Welcome back from the small prison to the large prison” (he did not use these exact words, but this was the gist). I gave my knee a loud slap when I read these lines. That is exactly right.
Co-leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), an anti-election movement, will pay nearly 96 million baht in compensation for damage caused during unrest in 2014. On 31 January 2017, the Civil Court of Justice ruled that five leaders of the PDRC were guilty of trespassing on the offices of both the Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT), during the movement’s ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ in 2014.
A commission tasked by Thailand’s junta with achieving political reconciliation will be dominated by military appointees, even though military interference in politics is itself a prime source of conflict. Last week, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the deputy junta head, revealed the military government’s national reconciliation plans, receiving both criticism and support from politicians. The plans include political amnesties and Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) between all