It should come as no surprise that Thai police are considering charges against nonviolent activists who scaled Parliament's fence December 12 to confront the 'Shameless Assembly'.
After passing the Computer-Related Crimes Act and a new Printing Act both of which incorporate broad censorship provisions, the Assembly is now considering further laws curtailing freedom of expression just days before Thailand's first election since a military coup d'etat on September 19, 2006.
What must be carefully considered is the legitimacy of the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly. Historically, all military coup governments have appointed parliaments. The laws passed by these legislators, and Constitutions, have been universally upheld by Thai courts despite the partisan nature of the assemblies promulgating them.
However, at urgent issue in Thailand is the fact that the Assembly is considering laws which will give legitimacy to further repression and broad powers to the Thai military long after our general elections December 23.
What is interesting about this situation is that the police did not act to arrest the nonviolent demonstrators entering and engaging the Assembly. All Thai citizens demand an open Parliament. Laws must not be discussed in secret. The activists, led by FACT signer and former Senator Jon Ungphakorn, were exercising their rights as free Thai citizens to enter Parliament. However, the gates to Parliament were barred in apparent anticipation of the demonstration. The obviously forewarned Assembly members sneaked in the back door.
Some questions beg answers: why, for instance, were the activists not arrested immediately by the many police in attendance? The present determination of legal charges has obviously been considered at Thailand's highest levels of power.
The discussion of legal charges is clearly an attempt at fear-mongering, simply to cow concerned members of the public and intimidate their participation in a second rally at Parliament tomorrow.
Despite the passage of a new Constitution far weaker in guarantees of human rights and freedoms than the 1997 Charter, Thai people still have freedom of assembly.
There are some very fine and incorruptible people who have served the National Legislative Assembly. I know some of them personally, academically and professionally. I find it impossible to consider at least some them puppets and stooges for the Thai military.
It is undeniable fact that politicians and bureaucrats become drunk with power. These are the end days for this Assembly whatever happens next and they must not be allowed to limit Thai freedoms by fiat.
Enough damage has been done to Thailand by military coups past and present. Enough is enough.