Chulalongkorn political science lecturer dismisses what happened as petty nonsense, and believes that the students have someone behind them, while university administrators have refused to be interviewed.
Weerasak Krueathep, lecturer in political and administrative science, told Khaosod that the group of students entered the venue without identifying themselves. He insisted that he did not seize [the placards from the students] violently, but just told them that they had to show them for him to see first, but the students did not comply.
He said the students were dishonest for ‘not revealing themselves’, so he did not allow them to show the signs.
‘I asked them what the signs were about. They didn’t answer. As an organizer of the event, I could not let this happen. And this is an academic event. They came to the wrong place. This is not a place for political activities. I did what I did to ensure peace and order for everybody, not only for the Prime Minister. If I am seen as restricting freedom, I’d like to ask whether these students were exercising their rights responsibly. If they are responsible, they can show themselves and come to talk [to me]. I’m ready to apologize. But if they don’t reveal themselves and stay underground, I’ll regard them as dishonest. To exercise freedom without responsibility is not freedom. I never thought of checking who they are because I’m not spiteful. But I know that they have backers behind them,’ Weerasak said.
According to Krungthep Thurakij, Phattaranan Limudomporn, a 3rd-year student activist at the same Faculty, who was not part of the group of protesting students, said that the lecturer had overreacted. As organizer, the lecturer should have provided space for the students to protest and display their placards peacefully. If they had turned unruly or rude, he then could deal with them. The Emergency Decree is already in place, Phattaranan said.
He agreed, however, with the obstruction of the female student by a university security guard to prevent her from reaching the Prime Minister in order to provide security for the country’s leader, as one cannot be sure who can be trusted. Therefore, the security guard’s action was acceptable and reasonable, he said.
When he joined yellow-shirt PAD protests, their rights were also suppressed by the government. So he knew the pain, and did not want to see that happen to anybody, no matter what colour of shirt.
He said that the lecturer had been severely criticized on various websites, and he should explain things to the public, not just talk among his own colleagues that it is nothing or nonsense.
Phattaranan said that he was shocked by what he had read in the news which quoted the lecture as saying ‘This is not Chula here. This is my place. Sue me!’, though he was not sure if the lecturer had really said that. He thought that this country had gone crazy, as this was Chulalongkorn University whose land had been royally granted [by Kings Rama V and VI], and did not belong to the lecturer.
Weerasak said to Krungthep Thurakij that it was petty nonsense.
M.R. Kalaya Tingsabhad, Chulalongkorn’s Deputy Rector, said that she had just heard the news, but did not yet have any information, so she refused to give an interview.
Charas Suwanmala, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, also refused to give an interview, claiming that he was having class to teach.
A reporter from the evening news programme of Voice TV tried to reach Weerasak by phone for an interview, but was refused. However, the TV station will send a reporter to the Faculty to ask for an interview again on 20 Aug.