Thai protest movement issues ultimatum to government

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It calls for advancing elections and resolving lands rights issues in various provinces

The Dawn News / May 21, 2018

Thailand has seen yet another reassertion of democratic forces as a protest movement has issued an ultimatum that unless the unelected military junta government fulfills its promises of holding democratic elections and resolving land rights issues in different provinces, mass agitations will be held.

They have given the junta time until May 22nd to agree to their demands, which also include the junta stepping down and the soldiers returning to the barracks. They are also demanding that the elections be held in November, and not in February 2019.

The People’s Movement for a Just Society, or P-Move, a network that represents farmers, the urban poor and people who have been forced from their land, organized protests against Thailand’s military rulers at various locations in Bangkok, including the United Nations’ regional headquarters this month.

Activists from different provinces traveled in hundreds and thousands to Bangkok to participate in these demonstrations. Later, they agreed to end the protests that were going on for almost two weeks ahead of the fourth anniversary of the military coup of 2014.

Thailand has been under military rule since a 2014 coup which the military claimed was necessary to restore order after months of pro and anti-government protests. The military had vowed to stabilize the country and reform the political system, but there has been an increasing realization that it has failed to live up to its promises. There is growing public anger about the repeated postponement of elections by the military government.

The ruling military junta has banned public gatherings of more than five people and severely restricted freedom of speech and expression in the country through various orders since the 2014 coup. It has also resorted to using the armed forces and the police to target public gatherings. International organizations, including the United Nations, have criticised and condemned these actions that have curbed the freedom of speech and expression of Thai citizens.

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