Yesterday (28 March), a group of students at Kasetsart University said that university officials prohibited them from campaigning to impeach the ECT on campus, and that they were also photographed by police officers.
Students campaigning at Kasetsart University, after having to move out of the university campus
Following the election on 24 March, an online campaign was started on Change.org to impeach the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) for their incompetence in organizing the election and possible election fraud.
The online campaign now has more than 800,000 signatories, but legally, it cannot be used to impeach the ECT. Because of this, students at universities across the country organized a campaign to impeach the ECT by setting up spots where people can sign a petition.
At Kasetsart University, a table was set up near the university library yesterday for people to sign the petition. However, Aranyika Changwa, a student at the university, said that police officers came to photograph the campaign table, and that a university official came to tell the group that the university cannot allow them to campaign as they had not requested to use the space.
The students moved their campaign to the Faculty of Social Sciences, but Aranyika said that university security and plainclothes police officers stopped their campaign. The university issued an announcement prohibiting any unauthorized activities from taking place on university grounds, and university officials told the students that the university cannot get involved in politics.
University officials also stopped some students from signing the petition, and Aranyika said that they finally had to move the campaign out of the university campus.
Police officers seen near the campaign spot at Kasetsart University
In addition to the campaign at Kasetsart University, campaigns were also organized at Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus, Naresuan University, Burapha University, Chiang Mai University, Prince of Songkla University, Rajabhat Rajanagarinda University, and at many more institutions across the country.
The campaign at Rajabhat Rajanagarinda University was also barred by university authorities. The University issued an announcement saying that it never authorized the campaign’s use of University premises and therefore cannot allow the campaign to take place, and that the University must remain in a position of political neutrality.
Meanwhile, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported that Chiang Mai University has also prohibited students from campaigning, claiming that the students did not ask for permission to use the space, and at Khon Kaen University, students said that police officers came to observe the campaign and questioned them. There was also a report that university officials also came to tell the students that the Faculty of Law did not allow them to use the space.