Democracy centre denies it was behind students' march

national January 22, 2014 00:00

By The Nation, Ayutthaya

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A LEARNING centre under the Election Commission yesterday dismissed a school director's suggestion that it was behind his decision to have students march in support of the February 2 election.

The march, which took place in Ayutthaya on Friday, has become a subject of controversy as many students staged a protest against the march on Monday.

“No, we are not involved,” Democracy Learning Centre 2 director Preecha Phutchai said yesterday.

He was speaking after Ayutthaya Witthayalai School director Chalermsak Tharathanya told the press that he had arranged the so-called march in cooperation with the centre.

Preecha said his centre had merely asked schools to send two teachers each to a workshop on democracy and elections.

“The workshop was held on Sunday and Monday. The march was held before that,” he pointed out.

He said that when he asked teachers from the Ayutthaya Witthayalai School at the workshop about the march, they said the provincial governor had told the school to arrange it.

“So, don’t implicate us in the controversy,” Preecha said.

At the press conference, Chalermsak said he had never thought the march would cause a problem.

He said it was only meant to promote democracy, insisting that the move did not have a hidden political motive.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has been staging massive rallies against the Yingluck Shinawatra government as well as the February 2 election, because it wants reforms to be put in place before the polls. Apart from Bangkok, PDRC-led protests are also being held in several provinces in the South, and many state-run schools in Surat Thani and Phatthalung have already suspended their classes.

In Phatthalung, government offices operating in the provincial hall have been closed for more than a week already. In Pattani, public-health officials and PDRC supporters marched across town to push for state officials to stop working, as they believe civil disobedience will further pressure the government.

In Narathiwat, PDRC supporters also surrounded the provincial hall, prompting the governor to close down government offices for four days.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, about 90 per cent of government offices were closed in response to the PDRC movement.