Military force closure of red-shirt charter referendum watch centres across nation

A key leader of the anti-establishment red shirts has reported that the military has ordered the closure of red-shirt referendum watch centres in many provinces. Meanwhile, the red shirts have invited the UN to monitor the draft charter referendum.

Thida Thavornseth, key leader of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red shirt faction affiliated with Thaksin Shinawatra, posted a status on her Facebook account that many soldiers on Friday, 17 June 2016, visited the UDD's referendum watch centres in the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon, the central province of Prachinburi and the eastern province of Rayong.

The soldiers ordered the local red shirt leaders who were running the referendum watch centres to close them down.

The red shirts, however, refused to obey the authorities and said that they will continue to run the centres as planned for the upcoming draft constitution referendum, saying that people should be given as much chance as possible to participate in passing the draft constitution.

On the same day, Jatuporn Prompan, Nuttawut Saikua, Thida and other leaders of the UDD submitted a letter to the UN Headquarters in Bangkok, inviting the UN to take part in monitoring the draft constitution referendum, which will be held on 7 August 2016.

Earlier this week, two local red shirt leaders from the northern province of the Phayao were summoned to the 34th Military Circle over the referendum watch centres. The soldiers told the two that opening such centres is prohibited. However, when one of the two asked them which law prevents them from running a centre, the authorities could not give them an answer.

Thida Thavornseth reporting on Facebook the visits by soldiers to the UDD referendum watch centres in many provinces on 17 June 2016

Key leaders of the UDD in front of the UN Headquarters in Bangkok on 17 June 2016 to invite the UN to take part in monitoring the draft constitution referendum