Thai parliament starts two-day special session over ongoing protests

By Linda Khoo Hui Li

BANGKOK, Oct. 26 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Thailand’s Parliament began a special session today to discuss the on-going protests in the country demanding political change, including demands for the prime minister to step down.

In his opening address, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha said the anti-government protests led by students that took to streets in Thailand’s capital Bangkok and other cities raised concern as it dampens government’s effort to revitalise its economy hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic.

“The government and relevant authorities have been trying our best to deal with the protests including revoked Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok… However, the rally is still on-going.

“The special session today is to find solutions to end political tensions. It should not cause further problems.

“We must embrace changes but it must be changed without chaos. Therefore, it is necessary we listen to various opinions,” he said.

On October 15, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha declared the Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok in a bid to end three months of student-led street protests. The emergency measures include banning public gathering of five people or more, and publication of news and other online messages that could affect national security.

However, the declaration prompted daily demonstrations by thousands of anti-government protesters in Bangkok and spread to other cities.

On Thursday, the government made the first move to de-escalate the situation by lifting the Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok.

Since mid-July, anti-government protesters rally in Bangkok and other cities repeating their demands for political change, including for the prime minister to step down, the dissolution of Parliament, the rewriting of the Constitution, and to bring reform to the monarchy.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit suggested the setting up of a special parliament commission to find solutions on the political tensions in the country.

The special parliament commission should consist groups of people including representatives from protest groups, academicians, opposition parties and government coalitions, he said.

Opposition Seri Ruam Thai Party leader Sereepisuth Temeeyaves is sceptical the parliamentary session will resolve the political tensions in the country.

However, he agreed on the setting up of a special parliament commission to come to an amicable solution.

— BERNAMA