The Nation



University groups trying to mobilise huge crowd

Anti-government protesters from or affiliated with four top universities in Bangkok are using social network sites to mobilise more people for tomorrow's protest.

The move came as arguments erupted at the four universities - Chulalongkorn, Thammasat, Kasetsart and Srinakarinwirot - about the role of their top administrators in politics. Charnvit Tiamboonprasert, an associate professor and leader of the Love Thailand group at Srinakarinwirot University, said protesters in Asoke, Silom and Phetchaburi roads where the campus is located, would join the protest tomorrow morning, although the group had earlier agreed to hold a protest on Tuesday.

He said the group would gather at 9am and then head towards Government House to express their opposition to the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Charnvit said if the government didn't accept the demands made by the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the least he expected was for it to create the so-called People's Council. The government could then dissolve the House, or the prime minister could resign. Sophon Supaphong, an alumnus of the university, urged others to join the protests tomorrow, calling Monday, "V Day".

On Facebook, many alumni and students were busy sharing photos and information about tomorrow morning's protest march. Some, like King Mongkut's University of Technology in Thonburi, even asked protesters to wear orange, the university colour.

Anti-government protesters affiliated with Chulalongkorn University, meanwhile, spread messages on social networking sites for protesters to assemble on the university lawn at 9am, wearing pink, the university colour, before marching on Government House. One protester noted of the internet: "This is the last chance. We can lose."

Silpakorn University members who oppose the government plan to gather at 8.30am on the university campus.

As for Thammasat University, students and faculty members who oppose the administration not only asked its members to assemble at the university before joining other protesters, but requested they bring along water and protective gear to protect themselves from the affects of tear gas.

Prof Pirom Kamolratanakul, president of Chulalongkorn University, said it was the political right of the university's members to express themselves, and the administrators would not interfere in their activities. He said the administrators would meet to decide how much longer classes should be suspended.

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