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Thailand : More Leaflets Attack Pro-Coup Thammasat University Rector

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  • Thailand : More Leaflets Attack Pro-Coup Thammasat University Rector

    More Leaflets Attack Pro-Coup Thammasat University Rector
    20 August 2014



    BANGKOK The school's rector, Somkid Lertpaitoon, was denounced in hundreds of flyers that were distributed around the social science lecture hall on Thammasat University's Rangsit Campus today.

    The leaflets urged Mr. Somkid to choose between membership in the NLA and his position as the rector of the university. The NLA was appointed by the junta earlier this month and will act as the country's legislative body until a new general election is expected to be held at the end of 2015.

    mysterious posters denouncing Mr. Somkid appeared in a lecture hall on the same campus.

    Mr. Somkid has defended his decision to join the NLA, explaining that the coup has already happened and that he prefers not to "waste" the opportunity to push for change.

    "I was picked by the NCPO as an NLA because of my position as the rector of a university," Mr. Somkid told Channel 3 News on the day he was inaugurated into the assembly. "People who criticise me, I want them to talk to me directly instead of gossiping about me on social media."

    Although no group has claimed responsibility for today's leaflets, the Facebook page of the student activist group League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD) published photos of the moment the flyers were strewn across the lecture hall.

    LTTD has been staging small demonstrations against the military junta since the 22 May coup.

    Thammasat University has an extensive history of student activists campaigning against Thailand's military rulers. Students at the university famously rallied against Field Marshal Thanorm Kittikachorn in October 1973, which resulted in a popular uprising against the regime.

  • #2
    University Bans Annual Commemoration of 1976 Student Massacre
    16 September 2014

    The October 6th Massacre is traditionally commemorated by activists and survivors of the incident at Thammasat's Tha Prachan campus. In previous years the event has featured religious ceremonies dedicated to the dead, political exhibitions, and academic seminars about the massacre.

    But this year's anniversary will only feature religious ceremonies, per orders from the university administrators, said Wipha Dawanee, a Thammasat lecturer who has been the main organiser of the October 6th commemoration event since 1996.

    "We were told not to have any [political] discussions, and we are not allowed to use the university's auditorium," Ms. Wipha said.

    Nakarin Mektrairat, deputy rector of Thammasat University, told Voice TV

    Public demonstrations - especially those with a political bent - are currently banned under orders from Thailand's military junta, known as the National Council For Peace and Order, which seized power in a coup d'etat on 22 May, 2014.

    On 6 October, 1976, security forces and right-wing militants stormed Thammasat Univeristy and attacked several thousand student activists who were protesting the return of a former military dictator.

    The massacre was notable for the brutal death of some activists, including one student who was lynched and beaten with achair. Forty-six people died in the crackdown according to official figures, though historians believe the number of casualties was much higher.

    Piyarath Chongthep, a core activist in the Thai Student Centre for Democracy (TSCD), said his group initially planned to hold panel discussions this 6 October, "like previous years," but was informed a few days ago that political events were prohibited.

    "Some people still want to organise the event, but right now we have to wait to hear opinions from other groups too," Mr. Piyarath said.

    Though traditionally regarded as a mainstay of the democratic movement in Thailand, Thammasat University has come under criticism in recent years for a string of conservative, pro-establishment administrators.

    The current rector, Somkit Lertpaithoon, has recently been targeted by Thammasat student activists

    The October 6th Massacre remains a sensitive topic in present-day Thailand. Many state-approved school textbooks omit both the massacre and the preceding 1973 student uprising.


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