Student activist group Education for the Liberation of Siam has called for the use of the hashtag “#studentcantsay” on Facebook and Twitter to protest Education Ministry regulations on student conduct seen as restricting their freedom of political expression.
Anger and frustration have built up among students after the Cabinet approved the revamped regulations on August 14 banning “inappropriate” shows of affection, actions likely to cause public nuisance, and public gatherings likely to cause disorder.
“The regulations will affect our daily lives and are ambiguous enough to be used for political purposes – banning political expression,” group leader Thanchanok Koshpasharin said among fellow students gathered on the MBK skywalk on Saturday afternoon.
They called on students to post their pictures online with a hand over their mouths and to use the hashtag #studentcantsay.
“We want a part in drafting regulations like this,” Thanchanok said. “We want a public hearing and we want the regulations to be specific.”
Rather than banning actions on the basis of social order and morality, the regulations should address specific acts, such as taking illicit drugs, she said.
The concern is that the regulations’ broad scope could allow them to be used to punish students for staging political rallies against the junta-led government.
“There will be more and more groups calling for these regulations to be scrapped,” said Student Union of Thailand leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak.
He submitted a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday asking that the changes to the regulations be revoked.