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Thai Prime Minister Insist He’s Listening to Protesters Despite Arrest

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Thai Prime Minister, Anti-government protesters

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted today that he has been listening to the voices of anti-government protesters despite having the leaders jailed. He also dismissed a possible military coup according to Thai PBS.

Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha was commenting on a suggestion from former prime minister Anand Panyarachun that the he should pay heed to the demands of the protesters.

“I have been listening to their voices. I hear everything,” Gen. Prayut said. He went on to beg for “mutual understanding” from the anti-government protesters who are demanding his resignation. They are also demanding a new constitution and a reform of the monarchy.

Gen. Prayut said he also listened to what was said during the two-day extraordinary House session early this week. The session was called to debate the ongoing political conflicts which pose the biggest challenge to the Prayut government.

A criminal court granted four anti-government protest leaders release from prison, only to have police promptly rearrested them. Charging them yet again for sedition against the government.

Military coup to end the ongoing crisis

When asked to comment on a suggestion by Sondhi Limthongkul, a media proprietor and leader of the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy, that the military stage a coup to end the ongoing crisis, he said the idea never crossed his mind.

“We have never thought about this.  But we have to be careful not to allow the situation to escalate. I am not saying whether there will be a coup or not. I am only saying nobody wants to do it,” he said.

He also defended the move to set up a national reconciliation committee to find a way out of the current crisis.

“This is mechanism designed by the legislative branch to solve the problem,” he said in response to claims by some opposition parties that setting up the committee was only a ploy to buy time by his government.

Prayut warns protesters over graduation ceremony

Gen. Prayut has also warned anti-government protesters not to do anything deemed improper or that could offend Their Majesties the King and Queen as they preside over the second day of the graduation ceremony at Thammasat University tomorrow.

The warning came after some anti-monarchy students threatened to spring a “big surprise” tomorrow. The first day of the ceremony today (Friday) passed without incident.

The Prime Minister said that its also a long-standing tradition for the Monarch to present degrees to new graduates and that it is not necessary for him to make any extra arrangements for the event, noting that authorities are well aware of the regulations and procedures.

He also pleaded with anti-government protesters not to block all arterial roads, in an attempt to shut down Bangkok. The blockage was threatened by one of the protest leaders, Pai Daodin. Saying that it is the people who will suffer most from such an action.

Students boycott royal graduation day

Meanwhile, Some students sympathetic to Thai protesters said that they were boycotting graduation ceremonies led by the Monarchy. The ceremonies, at which the monarch personally hands out degrees, are a rite of passage for graduates and their families. With photographs of the moment displayed with pride in many Thai homes.

Of those students planning to attend the ceremonies, some said family pressure had outweighed politics.

“My mother asked me to come,” said one 24-year-old student who gave his name only as Japan. “I didn’t really want to join it, honestly.”

Degree ceremonies presided over by the king began before the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, at a time the palace sought to strengthen its relationship with a growing middle class.

They gained greater importance under the King’s late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who spent decades working to strengthen the prestige of the monarchy.

 

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