Prime Minister Prayut Chan o-cha said on Monday that he personally does not want a pro-democracy rally to take place on October 14 but he will follow the law.
“In regards of allowing it, I do not want to allow it but the law is the law,” he told reporters when asked if the government would allow a rally led by United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) on October 14, with demands to lower the power of the monarchy.
“If we do not allow it, they will not accept it. If we try to stop it, they will resist. When we enforce the law, they will say that we are putting pressure on them,” he added.
The PM said what could happen if he ordered the security officers to use full force would be based on “the people who do not want to respect the law”.
“Let me ask you this, if these people succeeded, how will their management of the country be like? I do not understand because the conflict is escalating and in the end, the country will be unlivable,” he said.
When asked what would happen if the pro-monarchy protestors decided to confront the pro-democracy supporters, the PM said the government will try to make sure that the two groups do not come face to face with one another.
He said the government will continue to provide spaces for pro-democracy rallies, as long as protestors follow the law.
“Today might look like we are being too soft,” the PM added. “But there is a need to see what their terms and conditions are, as they want this outcome [use of force] to happen and that could be playing into their way.”
The PM said there are tens of millions of people who “love the institution and the country” and he asked for the media to stop providing details of the protestors’ demands to lower the power of the monarchy.
“Do not say that the government is being weak and the officers are not working as they are working so please do give them time to work,” he said.
PM Prayut who, in the past, constantly used profanity towards reporters also said that he disapproves of the protestors’ use of profanity that were directed to him and the appointed senators who all voted for him to become the current premier.
Tens of thousands of protestors came out on September 19 to ask for the rewriting of the constitution — for the government to dissolve and make way for a new election; for the Prayut administration to stop harassing dissidents; and to reform the monarchy institution.
UFTD and Free Youth leaders told Thai Enquirer last week that another major rally will take place in October but the October 14 date is meant for a general strike, not a political rally.