Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said that the PAD had the legal right to hold rallies during Parliament’s consideration of charter amendments as long as they did not use violence. The Emergency Decree has to be kept in force until the situation returns to normal. He insisted that there were never double standards regarding enforcement of the decree, and all groups had been treated equally, according to an ASTV-Manager report on 24 Nov.
He also said that the Director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, had already met with the Prime Minister to explain that the CRES order to ban merchandise which caused disunity was not meant to curtail the rights of the public, but was out of concern for offences against the monarchy.
Next PAD rally on 11 Dec
PAD leader Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang told ASTV this morning that PAD supporters were coming from Lampang to join others in front of Parliament. Those who came from the provinces and could not stay overnight with relatives or friends in Bangkok would be welcome to stay at the office of the New Politics Party where air conditioned rooms and toilets were available, and also at Santi Asoke.
He reiterated the PAD’s stance of accepting charter amendments only after a referendum.
Parliament met last night until 1-2 am, but the PAD halted their rally at 10 pm so that their supporters could rest.
He said that late yesterday afternoon some senators, both appointed and elected, and MPs came out to meet the PAD supporters, and this showed that a number of parliamentarians agreed with the PAD. They came out on their own, not by invitation. They did not go up on stage however, as it might not be proper.
The wife of a former regional police commander and recently retired army generals also came to join the rally today, he said.
He said that the PAD had reasons for their protest. They had had meeting after meeting. The best they could do was to protest.
He expected that the rally would finish at 3 pm on 25 Nov, when the Parliamentary meeting was supposed to end. However the voting turned out, the PAD will meet again to discuss what to do.
Chamlong said that this time they were saving their energy for their next rally on 11 Dec to protest the loss of Thai territory to Cambodia, when they would come in full force.
On 11 Dec, a number of military officers, both in active service and retired, will join their rally, because it is about the protection of territory. They will stay overnight to demand that the Prime Minister withdraw the 2000 MOU and the JBC meeting reports. They will camp in front of the Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium.
At about 10 am today at the rally in front of Parliament, Ratchayut Sirayothinpakdi, the new name of Amornthep Amornrattananon, a former MP candidate for Bangkok for the New Politics Party, told the crowd that their rally was unlike those of the red shirts. The red shirts had come out in numbers, but it was not clear whether they had acted out of their own conscience or whether they were organized and recruited by politicians and canvassers. PAD supporters acted out of conscience.