Forums to communicate with protestors will be set up around the country within a week, Prayut said

Forums will be set up around the country by mid-August to listen to the student protestors’ grievances and demands, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

Prayut said last week that the government would set up forums to listen to the student protestors after three weeks of protests, which led to the biggest rally against his government since the coup of 2014 on Monday.

Prayut added that a political rally is a human right permitted under the constitution but if a protest went beyond its constitutional right then the law must be applied.

“There must be peace and stability in order for the government to keep on fixing COVID-related problems,” he said. “There are many other people suffering who are waiting for these problems to be fixed, not only the new generation.”

Prayut questioned the timing of the protests during the outbreak and stressed that if organizers and protestors violated the law, they will be punished accordingly.

“The rally can be arranged wherever but if it is against the law, it is against the law,” he said.

The protestors are now preparing for at least two more rallies before a bigger gathering on October 16, which includes the rally at Lumpini Park on August 12 and one at Chulalongkorn University on August 14.

The student protestors have called for various protests around the country to come and join forces at the Democracy Monument on August 16.

They are demanding parliament be dissolved to make way for a new election. They also want to rewrite the constitution and for Prayut’s administration to stop harassing dissidents.

At the rally at Thammasat University, about 5,000 people signed a petition to amend the constitution. The goal for the petition is to reach 50,000 names and put pressure on political parties to push for an amendment in parliament.

Prayut said last week that the government is willing to amend the constitution but this cannot be done within days or a month, according to the current constitution. 

One of the protest leaders, Anon Numpa, a human rights lawyer and political activist, provided a deadline for appointed senators on Monday to step down by September 30.  

Protestors said the 250 senators, who were all appointed by the previous junta, is one of the reasons why the current constitution was written and it is undemocratic.  

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