FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

UTNP to seek urgent debate on better protection of royal motorcades

UTNP to seek urgent debate on better protection of royal motorcades

Coalition partner United Thai Nation Party will propose an urgent debate in Parliament on the protocol required to protect the motorcades of royal family members.

This is in response to an incident earlier this month when an activist tried to disrupt the motorcade of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

The party also condemned former Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat for sounding protective of the activist Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon who allegedly honked at and tried to join the princess’s motorcade on February 4.

UTNP secretary-general Akanat Promphan said he will propose at the party meeting on Tuesday that an interpellation be submitted to call for an urgent debate on improving security for members of the royal family.

He said his party would propose to all House standing committees concerned to review security members for the royals to protect them from intimidation, challenge or defamation as happened on February 4.

He added that police and intelligence agencies should also review their protocol for protecting royal motorcades.

Preventing clashes

The party added that if Tantawan and the driver of the car she was in are not brought to justice soon, there will be more clashes and social rifts will widen.

On February 4, a car chased the motorcade of Princess Maha Chakri on Makkasan expressway after the unidentified driver honked continuously while the motorcade was passing.

When the car was blocked from joining the motorcade, Tantawan, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, engaged in a heated argument with an on-duty police officer. She cited urgency and questioned the “preferential treatment” given to certain vehicles.

The first time Tantawan got into trouble for defamation was two years ago and was granted temporary release in May 2022 after Pita used his MP status as a guarantee.

However, the latest incident sparked outrage among royalists on social media, with many slamming Pita for allegedly supporting this activist.

‘Young people’

On Saturday, Pita insisted that he did not support Tantawan’s behaviour, but hinted that the conflicts might stem from the attitude of young people.

“As a politician and a Thai, I am worried about the country’s situation and the future of young people. I understand that many people are uncomfortable, worried, and want understanding. All parties should help ease the situation to prevent more rifts,” he said.

The incident also sparked a clash between Tantawan’s Thaluwang group, which literally translates to “piercing through the palace”, and the People’s Centre to Protect the Monarchy group at the Siam BTS station.

UTNP to seek urgent debate on better protection of royal motorcades

Meanwhile, UTNP spokesman Akkaradej Wongpithairoj slammed Pita for using “young people” as a political rhetoric.

He warned that this rhetoric would further divide society because Pita failed to show responsibility as Tantawan’s bail guarantor. In 2022, the Criminal Court had assigned Pita to be the young activist’s bail supervisor.

Akkaradej said Pita should have condemned Tantawan for violating the law instead of using the “young people” rhetoric.

“Pita acted as the guarantor for Tantawan and had even debated in support of her in the House. So, he should have done more to take responsibility for the action that trampled on the hearts of many Thais,” Akkaradej said.

“I would like to tell Pita to stop using the ‘young people’ rhetoric as this is not an issue of any generation. It’s just a violation of law. It’s a matter of people knowing what they can and cannot do. Don’t use the rhetoric to gather support from young people as many of the young generation do not support this kind of action and even abhor Tantawan’s act this time.”