Thais plan anti-government protest forum

Kaweewit Kaewjinda
·1-min read

Thailand plans to set up an official platform to listen to the concerns of anti-government protesters following a special parliamentary session about ongoing demonstrations.

"We'll establish a joint panel bringing together people from all sides, including those in conflict as well as those who aren't, in order to find a way out together," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

The government will work out the next steps in order to set up the panel, Prayuth said, following the two-day parliamentary session.

It sought to defuse tensions, as pro-democracy activists have been calling for a new government, a new constitution and monarchical reforms since July.

While demonstrators are demanding Prayuth's resignation, he told parliament on Tuesday he was not ready to resign, saying he had not yet fulfilled his duties.

He seized power in a military coup in 2014, after months of occasionally violent protests that paralysed Bangkok's streets.

Prayuth's junta introduced a new constitution that weakened democratic systems and favoured his return as premier in a March 2019 election.

Anti-government protesters say Prayuth supports the monarchy, which they view as the root of Thailand's political problems.

Thailand's monarchy is also protected by strict lese-majesty laws that punish defamation of the king, queen, or regent with up to 15 years' prison.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai told MPs on Monday to avoid discussing issues concerning the monarchy in parliament.