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Malaysian NGOs protest Thai coup outside embassy

A coalition of Malaysian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have called for an immediate end to the military rule in Thailand, describing its martial law provisions as a suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The coalition of 25 NGOs held a peaceful protest outside the Royal Thai embassy here Monday morning demanding that democracy be restored in the embattled nation, to allow the Thai people to decide the future of their country.

They said that military rule was not the solution to the present political impasse in Thailand as it would only fuel further repression, especially towards the country's working class.

"Since the military takeover on May 22, the Thai constitution has been suspended. This effectively gives the military unlimited powers to restrict fundamental human liberties and replace them with martial law provisions.

"Such provisions allow the military to prohibit any activity, censor the media, outlaw meetings and assemblies, occupy areas, and detain people without charge up to seven days," the group said in a memorandum presented to Thai ambassador to Malaysia His Excellency Krit Kraichitti.

The group criticised the clampdown on press freedom and the mass arrests of civilians and political party leaders.

"All protest and peaceful assemblies have been banned and clamped down by the military, including those critical of the military coup.

"Furthermore, the military junta has issued orders for lese majeste (offence against sovereignty) cases to be tried in a military court instead of civil court. Violation of the junta's orders will also be tried in military court.

"This severely undermines the right to independent and fair trial of the Thai people, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law," the group said.

Rejecting the military's justification that the coup was an attempt at restoring peace and order, the group made seven demands to Royal Thai Army Commander in Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

These included calling for the reinstatement of the Thai constitution, the release of all political detainees, and for both sides of the political divide to negotiate a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis.

Among the NGOs endorsing the protest were Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Women's Aid Organization, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Tenaganita, and Malaysia Trade Union Congress.




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