Submitted on Tue, 2017-12-12 13:50
Pro-democracy activists gathered at the Democracy Monument on Constitution Day to remind the public that the junta’s constitution is undemocratic.
At 4.50 pm on Thailand’s Constitution Day, 10 December 2017, about 100 people marched from Thammasat University to the Democracy Monument amid tight security.
The activity was led by pro-democracy activists Pansak Srithep, Payao Akhad and Rangsiman Rome. Under the junta’s repressive policies on freedom of expression and assembly, the activists avoided directly criticising the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and instead raised many questions regarding the NCPO’s performance before the public.
About 100 people gather at gathered at the Democracy Monument on Constitution Day
Some of the questions are “Do you think the current Constitution can lead our country to democracy in which the people have rights and freedom?”; “If you compare military government and civilian government, which can the people better scrutinise and hold accountable for allegations of corruption?”; and “For the last three years that we’ve been governed by the military government, have you missed democracy?”
“We can’t deny the people who come to join the rally today because they think every aspect of Thailand is becoming worse,” said Rangsiman. “We have to ask why we still have the NCPO. Why does the NCPO remain in power as it failed to improve the situation of our country? So today’s political activity is to express our demand that Thailand needs a change. We want to move forward--without the NCPO and Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.”
Pansak Srithep read the group's questions to the public and the junta
Rangsiman added that the junta’s constitution cannot reform the country and may lead to another political crisis. “We have to draft a new constitution. We want a new constitution -- one which gives us the light of hope for the future of Thailand.”
On the same day, at Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus, the Federation of Patanian Students and Youth (PerMAS), a leading Muslim Malay youth activist group, held an event to celebrate International Human Rights Day, also on 10 Dec.
The Federation of Patanian Students and Youth (PerMAS) held an event to celebrate International Human Rights Day
PerMas issued a statement with three demands to the government and the public. The first called for everyone to support the Palestinians’ right to self-determination; secondly, PerMas called for the public to support the movement against the coal-fired power plant in Songkhla, where community rights have been denied by the government; and last, the group called for the parties in conflict, the Thai military and the Malay independent movement, to respect the right to self-determination of the Muslim Malay who live in the three southernmost provinces.