In Northern Thailand, more than 2,000 police were deployed to provide protection for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha when he visited Chiang Mai province Wednesday. However, despite the sheer number of police in both uniform and plainclothes, officers failed to stop the protests.
A small group of protesters rallied at Chiang Mai airport to oppose Prayut’s visit. During the prime minister’s visit to Chiang Mai city, more protesters gathered in front of the convention center and the international trade exhibition fair.
There was a small band of protesters, bearing posters that read “8 years, no future, get out”, “no future, but public debt” and “Loong Too (PM’s nickname), borrow, borrow, borrow” who were barred from entering the fairgrounds.
The 2000-plus police officers came from most districts of Chiang Mai, with some coming from Lampang and Lamphun provinces as well.
Upon the Prime Minister’s arrival in Chiang Mai, he and a small group of ministers proceeded directly to Mae Kuang Udom TharaDam. They were there, to inspect the Mae Taman sluice gate project in the Mae Taeng district.
The Mae Taman sluice gate is the starting point of the 46km long water diversion tunnel, which will transport water from the Mae Taeng River to the Mae Ngat Somboon Chon Dam and on to the Mae Kuang Udom Thara Dam.
The prime minister and his delegation were greeted warmly by locals at the gate.
Later, the prime minister visited the abbot of Wat Pa Dara Phirom before heading to the convention center in Chiang Mai city.
The parliamentary vote electing Gen. Prayut as prime minister was conducted in July 2019. After overthrowing the democratically elected Pheu Thai Party government in August 2014, this is his second administration.
Many pro-democracy advocates believe the March 24, 2019 election was only partially free and not at all fair.
In their view, the election was unfair because people selected by junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was running for PM, drafted the rules.
This rubber-stamp parliament, the National Legislative Assembly, even appointed and approved the so-called “referees” for the 2019 election. This resulted in gerrymandering and a bizarre allocation method for party-list MPs.
Following the vote, the commission amended the previously announced formula for allocating party-list seats – and voila, the anti-junta camp can no longer marshal a simple majority.
The 250-plus seats it was projected to collect were reduced to 245. In addition, Prayuth appointed 244 senators to the 250-member Senate.
This administration is expected to complete its four-year term by 2023. According to Palang Pracharath Party officials, Prayut will continue to receive support from the party in the upcoming election.