MFP supporters gather as opponents step up challenges ahead of PM vote
Human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa on Wednesday warned the Election Commission (EC) that people all over the country will protest if Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat is obstructed from becoming Thailand’s next prime minister.
Arnon, who has participated in several pro-democracy movements, was speaking to the crowd who gathered at the Skywalk in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Pathum Wan district on Wednesday evening.
Pita supporters gathered at the Skywalk at around 6pm after the EC resolved earlier on Wednesday to ask the Constitutional Court to disqualify Pita as an MP for holding 42,000 shares in media firm iTV when he filed his papers to run in the May 14 election.
Upon learning of the resolution, Pita responded that the EC appeared to have speeded up the iTV shareholding probe against him ahead of the PM vote on Thursday. He felt that he had not been treated fairly by the EC because its investigative panel had never summoned him and given him a chance to explain his position.
On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court also accepted a petition against Pita and Move Forward Party over their election campaign to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majeste law.
The crowd at the Skywalk urged the EC and the court to stop any attempts to block Pita from becoming the prime minister before the Parliament vote on Thursday morning.
Arnon invited Pita supporters to gather at the Parliament building on Thursday to give moral support to Pita and the Move Forward Party. He also asked the police to refrain from using tear gas or violence against the public at Thursday’s rally.
“Tomorrow (Thursday) every road will lead to the Parliament. If the result of the vote for PM betrays people’s hopes, we will hold protests all over the country. Let’s hope this is our last fight to turn Thailand into a true democracy,” said Arnon.
Police closed a section of Samsen Road in front of the Parliament Complex from midnight on Wednesday to block protesters from gathering ahead of the PM’s election on Thursday.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau banned all public gatherings within a 50-metre radius of the Parliament from Wednesday until Saturday (July 12-15), while suggesting people use the nearby Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Government Complex, known colloquially as Kiak Kai Complex, for rallies.