Students pose new challenge at army park

national December 07, 2015 01:00

By VISARUT SANKHAM,
ANAPAT DEECH

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Plan an event at the corruption plagued site today despite threat of arrest from govt



A STUDENT group remains intent on travelling to Rajabhakti Park today as part of a campaign to look into alleged corruption during construction of the site – despite a warning from the government that its members will face legal action if they break the law.
The Democracy Studies Group, led by Sirawith Seritiwat, has called the trip “Taking a train to Rajabhakti Park to throw light on graft techniques’’. 
Government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said officials would not stop the students going to the park because they had the liberty to travel anywhere.
They would face legal action only if they did something like disturb the peace, he said.
“Thais can judge what the intention of these political event organisers is – and they are fed up with people who instigate political upheaval,” he said. 
“These people should not tamper with the place that Thais built with faith and loyalty for the monarchy by doing anything with malicious intent.”
The spokesman called on anyone who has information for the investigation into corruption allegations at the park to forward it to the Defence Ministry or anti-graft agencies.
The students will meet today at the Thon Buri train station and travel to Lang Suan in Chumphon province. 
They plan to arrive at Suanson Pradipan about noon and be at Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan at about 1pm. 
At Rajabhakti Park they will read a statement about their investigation in the project. They will then travel to Suanson Pradipan, where they will hold a seminar.
On Saturday Sirawith confirmed on his Facebook page his willingness to head to Rajabhakti Park despite claiming soldiers threatened him by summoning his mother for questioning about the planned trip to the park.
He said he was also undeterred by reports he would face legal action.
He said a soldier wanted to know how his mother could she let him do this and why didn’t she stop him. The soldier also warned he would be charged, the student said. “Even if I’m arrested or die, the event [the trip to the park] would continue. Hope to see you all [there] on December 7,” he posted on Facebook yesterday.
Former education minister Chaturon Chaisang posted on his Facebook page that the move to intimidate and restrict people’s rights and liberty to check corruption did not only adversely affect intimidated people, but the feelings of people nationwide.
“The more barricades that are set up to prevent corruption checks at Rajabhakti Park, the more people wonder if the project has something to hide,’’ he wrote. “The park was built so that the public could pay their homage and it is a place of worship but what is happening is only people who do not harbour doubts about corruption allegations in the park construction are allowed to go in.’’
Meanwhile United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship core leader Nattawut Saikua denied that his fight to protect his rights and privacy was aimed at gaining a political advantage through media sentiment.
He said the government stepped up checks on him after he told the media he would go to Rajabhakti Park to check on the corruption allegations.
Nattawut and fellow UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan were detained by security officials for several hours last week after their announcement. They were released after signing a contract stating they would not repeat the action.
The UDD leaders claimed plainclothes and uniformed officials followed Nattawut for 24 hours and followed his wife when she dropped their kids at school. “This is not a political battle but it is a struggle of a father whose children were intimidated at school,’’ he said.
Meanwhile ,Sansern denied reports the Prime Minister would reshuffle his Cabinet and invite Assistant Army Chief General Kampanart Ruddit to join it.

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