Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Tuesday that the government has done its utmost to prevent the loss of life and that it was using ‘minimal force’ in dealing with anti-government protesters.
His statement came during a special session of parliament called to alleviate the political tension that has been building for the past months.
A police crackdown on unarmed protesters on October 15 which saw protesters matched against water cannons and riot shields drew sharp criticism by opposition parties on Tuesday.
Prayut defended his government, saying they have used minimal force on the protestors and were showing good faith by negotiating and willing to meet some demands of the protests. (Read more here)
“We are trying to avoid a confrontation between the people in order to prevent a riot,” he said “The government is trying to protect the rights of very Thai citizens.
Student-led pro-democracy protests have gripped the country for the past four months with demonstrators calling on the Prayut Chan-ocha government to resign, for the government to re-draft the military-backed charter and for the government to stop harassing dissidents.
The protests have taken place throughout the entire country with tens of thousands of demonstrators regularly taking to the street to demand a change of government.
The prime minister said he has no plans to resign.
Protesters have also touched on the need for reformation of Thailand’s once cherished monarchy which demonstrators say needs updating.
Chonlanan Srikaew, an opposition Pheu Thai MP, said that the protestors’ demand was to reform the monarchy institution, not to abolish it as some in the government has claimed.
Prayut rebutted and said that tens of millions of people in this country do not want to see the reform.
Royalist gatherings have taken place over the past few weeks with loyal Thais demanding the government prosecute protesters who were criticizing the monarch. The royalist gatherings have occurred throughout the country but have so far failed to gain the same traction as the pro-democracy protests.
Calls for resignation
Sompong Amornvivat, leader of the Pheu Thai Party and the opposition, said the government is the current main source of conflict in Thai society and condemned the government’s use of draconian laws.
He urged for the government to stop using delay tactics when it came to the amendment of the constitution, release the university students that are currently in jail, and for the PM to resign.
“To get rid of the current problems and to show responsibility, the PM, who is the biggest obstacle and burden in this country, should resign,” he said.