September 19 rally will continue with or without permission from Thammasat University and BMA

The rally on September 19 will continue regardless of whether the protesters receive permission from Thammasat University and the Phra Nakhon District Office, protest leader said on Thursday.

Suradej Umnuaysarn, the director of the Phra Nakhon District Office, said earlier that based on the announcement by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in 2012, Sanam Luang can be used by civilians for leisure activities between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.

To conduct any other activity, including that of a political rally, the organizer will need to ask for permission from the BMA first.

He said no such request for a political rally to be held at Sanam Luang has been handed in to the office so far, and if the request was actually handed in, the request will be turned down because it is against the rules. 

He said there are only four activities that are permissible to be held at Sanam Luang which includes royal ceremonies, Buddhist ceremonies, annual celebrations, and organizing government activities. 

He added that the law dictates that no political rally can be held within 150 meters from the palace. 

Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, one of the leaders of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, said the pro-democracy rally will continue with or without the permission from the office.

“We will use the principle of civil disobedience because the authority that said that we are not allowed to protest is illegitimate,” he said. “We will continue [with our protest].”

His comments were similar to what he said on September 10 when Thammasat University announced in a statement that the pro-democracy rally will not be allowed to take place on its campus in Tha Pra Chan. 

The university also released another statement on Thursday which indicated that there will be no classes and activities at the campus over the weekend and they will close all of its gates except for the one on Phra Athit road. 

The university said that they are ceasing all activities on campus due to recommendations made by state security officials who cited safety as reasoning.  

Staff ID or Thai National ID and permission from the university’s administration will be required to enter the school ground over the weekend, they added.

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