BANGKOK, September 17 (TNA) – The government will not allow violent clashes to happen during the anti-government rally planned for Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan says.
Anti-government and student groups have planned to stage the mass rally at Thammasat University’s Tha Phra Chan campus. But the University last week rejected their request citing the protest leaders’ failures to comply with its guidelines on holding political activities on campus.
They have insisted to go ahead with the demonstration, which will include a march to Government House on Sunday, September 20.
Prawit commented that police had the authority to control the crowd and enforce the law which barred protestors to gather within 50 meters from Government House.
He had ordered law enforcement agencies to prevent violence and ensure safety of protesters.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha gave a televised national address Thursday evening, in which he reminded Thai people of the resurgence of coronavirus infections around the world.
Although he was well aware of the protester’s grievances and demands he said it was the time for national unity in the fight against COVID-19.
Protest leaders have said they will defy the University’s decision and go on with “Sept 19: Return Power to Civilians” rally. While their main demand is government resignation, some activists have called for highly-controversial monarchical reform.
Holding demonstration not only heightened the risk of infection but also erode confidence in the country’s stability which was much needed for the recovery, Prayut said.
“I hear what you say. I understand your frustration regarding politics and discontent over the Constitution. I respect your opinion and your feeling. But, today, the country faces painful reality that needs to be addressed first,” he said in the 10-minute address.
“To those who plan to join the rally, please think about millions of other fellow Thais who will be affected from your actions that would increase the risks of infection and a second lockdown,” said Prayut. (TNA)