Chaturon Chaisang, former education minister, was arrested on Tuesday at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) shortly after he finished holding a press conference there. He was arrested in front of about 100 reporters.
Chaturon was summoned by the coup makers earlier, but didn't turned himself in. On Tuesday at 2 p.m. he held a press conference, giving a statement in opposition to the coup.
Below is his statement:
To fellow citizens who love democracy, the media and global civil society:
Given the coup that occurred that everyone now knows about, there were a few events concerning me that took place before and after the coup. So I’d like to clarify to one and all accordingly.
My opinion before the coup…
Over the course of several decades in the past I have constantly indicated opposition to coups. And for dozens of years over these last years I have indicated that in my opinion no matter how difficult a problem the country was faced with, a coup was not the way out. If one did occur then it would always exacerbate the problem. When the coup this time occurred, I had the same opinion and have already indicated my opinion in opposition to the coup.
Let me reiterated at this time that a coup in and of itself – that is, de facto overthrow of democracy – a coup is not able to give rise to increased democratic rule, but would rather give rise to that which is not a democracy and to less democracy.
Coups are not the way out or solution to problems of divisiveness in society. If they come along they create even more divisiveness. What’s worrisome is that if those in power don’t manage things well it might create violence and increased loss.
A coup is a process that is not democratic and that worldwide, as well as through most of Thai society, will not accept. It is bound to damage the country’s image, damage cooperation with other countries, and increase economic problems of the country…which I’ve already reiterated.
As to the citing of Thai society being divided and occurrences of violence and so many losses to the point where army leadership had to declare martial law and then followed with the coup, well…if it was done like this then the situation would not blossom into the state where it would have been declared a necessity to effect a coup.
The reason I did not report to the NPCO…
I have already explained to the press that as I do not support the coup, I could thus not report in to the coup committee. Let me further point out that I have had this opinion from the very start, and have indicated this to many ministers and to the public that the declaration of Martial Law that was made was unconstitutional and in conflict with even the Martial Law Act itself because there was no Royal Proclamation.
As to the coup, before any Royal Proclamation making General Prayuth the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), it is not to be considered completely done. The conduct of General Prayuth and group who declared seizure of power thus conflicts with Article 68 of the Constitution. Orders of the NCPO during the time when there was still no Royal Proclamation appointing any NCPO head, are thus illegal orders. Actually, we can note without difficulty that this provision means that an amnesty is needed (for the actions of the NCPO) prior to giving rise to a Royal Proclamation appointing the head of the NCPO.
In the past there was an attempt at a coup. There were orders for individuals to report [to the coup-makers] but as there was no Royal Proclamation appointing those people it gave state administrative protection to them. Later the [coup makers] individuals became insurrectionists. Those who complied with requests to report or gave support were also deemed to have committed offenses.
From past experience and the cited legal provisions I thus decided to not report in to the NCPO. In doing so I have declared very clearly that I do not intend to flee, that that no actions in opposition or underground struggle of any kind would be forthcoming, and that I was ready to allow them to take me into custody at the appropriate time.
What I will do next…
I continue to confirm that I will use what rights and freedom I have to appeal for our land to be a democracy, beginning with an appeal to the NCPO to quickly return democracy to the people and allow elections according to democratic rule. In this anything that I do will be peaceful and in compliance with Article 2 and in compliance with just laws.
Allowing detaining or apprehending I have said that I will allow the NCPO to pick me up or take me into custody at the appropriate time. And now that there has been a royal proclamation appointing the head of the NCPO and via many provisions of Thai law are authorized I am prepared to allow NCPO to take me into custody and proceed according to what is seen to be proper.
I have chosen to demonstrate opposition in accordance with the principles of civil disobedience, which I must be prepared to accept the legal consequences for according to statute. If there is to be a case prosecuted, I am prepared to fight it according to due rights.
As I understand that there may be case proceedings against no small number of persons, I wish to indicate that in case proceedings against anyone who has opposing political opinions military courts should not process the cases but they should be decided by Courts of Justice as is the usual practice.
Suggestions to NCPO:
1. Quickly return power and democracy to the people. Quickly allow elections according to regulations.
2. Please avoid use of violence against the people. Don’t repress the people and don’t chose to act by using the law to protect violence in society. You should open the opportunity for the people to express opinions and struggle peacefully for democracy. This is an important stipulation that will avoid violence and is better than forcing the people to turn to other means.
3. Encourage the search for knowledge and experience for the people to peacefully live together in society, even if they have different opinions form one another. This is one of the basic problems with Thai society – use of absolute power is not a way out.
4. Quickly release all persons detained without any stipulations.
5. If you really need to reform, then please allow all parties to have as much a share as possible. I beg you to understand that Thai society is full of divergent opinions, toward the 2007 constitution and toward the many reform alternatives introduced. So finding a settlement won’t be easy.
6. In actions taken from here on, I ask that you consider the [country’s legitimacy among the international community] to avoid impact to the economy and wellbeing of the people.
Suggestions to those who cherish democracy…
It is the right of the people to show opposition to the coup and any actions extending from the coup.
In many years to come…
Many problems in our homeland have accumulated. In these many years the democracy that we people have tried to preserve has gradually been depleted until we have totally lost democracy to coups. From this point on whatever kind of rules and regulations there are there will still be differences of opinion in Thai society. People who cherish democracy have to collectively consider what form democratic rule should take and what needs to be done so that the majority of the people accept and support [democracy].
Suggestion to the world community…
I’d like to thank the various national governments and international organizations that have expressed concern about the situation in Thailand who have attempted to prevent and not allow violence against the people to occur, and who have shown opposition to the declaration of Martial Law and the coup undertaken..
I trust that the assistance according to basic principles of civilized nations will continue.
Thank you friends in the press.
Thank you for continually providing facts to the public here in Thailand and abroad.
Thank you for publishing this declaration.
Might I reiterated that “truth” is something that cannot be left out in solving the problems of any society.
Thank you one and all.