Monarchy supporters vow to drive Amnesty International out of Thailand

The Citizens’ Network to Protect the Monarchy, the People’s Centre to Protect the Monarchy and the Thai Raksa group have submitted a letter at Government House urging the Prime Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, to check whether the international human rights NGO Amnesty International has damaged the security of the nation and monarchy.

The pro-monarchy group take a group photo at the Government House.

On 25 November, a pro-monarchy group of 50 people were led by Noppadol Phrompasit and Anon Klinkaew to ask the PM to check Amnesty International (AI) Thailand’s operations and sources of finance.

The group was welcomed and admitted to Government House, unlike the network of musicians and entertainment workers who on 23 November were blocked by police from submitting a petition.

The group’s representatives said that AI’s Write for Rights campaign invites members around the globe to write to the Thai government asking for lèse majesté charges to be dropped against Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul, one of the pro-democracy student activists.  This, they claim, may be considered as interference in Thailand’s domestic affairs by a foreign entity and ignoring a Constitutional Court ruling.

This last charge refers to the Constitutional Court’s ruling on 11 November that found that calls for monarchy reform were unconstitutional.

The group urged that the government urgently look into AI’s activities. If evidence of domestic interference are found, AI must be expelled from the Kingdom.

Seksakol Atthawong, a former red shirt now assistant to the Prime Minister's Office came to receive the group’s letter. He said if he could not oust AI from Thailand, he would quit his post. He also said pressure to get rid of AI can be made via the law and people who are loyal to the monarchy.

On 23 November, in the face of pressure against them, AI Thailand posted “6 Facts that you may not know about Amnesty International” on Facebook, pointing out that it is a non-partisan, human rights NGO that receives no funds from any government. It is financed by donations and membership fees from human rights supporters. And its HQ is in London, not in the US.

AI set up an office in Thailand in 1996 and Amnesty International Thailand was registered as an association under Thai law in 2003. It faced a public backlash in 2018 when it campaigned publicly against the execution of a death row prisoner in the Kingdom. Death threats and threats of violence and rape were made online and at the AI office against staff and their family members.

Source: 
prachatai.com/journal/2021/11/96100

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