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Students cry foul after 'forced to back Feb 2 poll'

More than 300 students from the Ayutthaya Withayalai school in Ayutthaya gathered yesterday to oust the school's director after he allegedly ordered them to stage a street rally in support of the February 2 election.

The students protested in front of the director's room and whistled to support a move to expel him from his office. They said they were upset at being instructed to march through the streets to the old provincial hall in support of the election.

The students said the school rally on Friday would lead the public to believe their school belonged to the red-shirt movement. They said they gathered to demonstrate that they, their parents and some teachers were not red shirts and had been forced to rally against their will.

The students dispersed thirty minutes after police arrived. The school management explained that they instructed the students to stage the rally at the order of their superiors.

A parent of a high school student said he was upset the school used students as a political tool, ordering them to demonstrate and carry placards to campaign for the election.

Chalermsak Tharathanya, the school director, refused to talk to the media on the controversy.

Meanwhile in Surat Thani, a war of words and a scuffle erupted at the provincial hall after an official resisted a call by the People's Democratic Reform Committee for a work stoppage as a gesture of civil disobedience.

Customs Office legal officer Saravudh Issarangura na Ayuthaya's opposition to the campaign had been met with loud whistles blown by the protesters. He spat on the protesters when he was asked to apologise. PDRC leaders intervened and order was restored.


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