Foreign Desk Report
BANGKOK: Thai authorities have summoned the heads of universities to tell them to stop students demanding reform of the monarchy, warning that such calls could lead to violence, a member of the military-appointed Senate said on Sunday.
Thailand has faced near daily protests since mid-July calling for the departure of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, and for a new constitution and elections.
Some groups have also listed 10 demands to curb the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Royal Palace, breaking a long-standing taboo in the Southeast Asian country. Senator Somchai Sawangkarn told Reuters that letters had been sent by state-appointed provincial governors to university heads, summoning them to meetings ahead of protests planned on Sept. 19 in Bangkok and elsewhere.
“University administrators should create understanding with the students on this and should put a stop to the demands on the monarchy,” he said. “We did not tell the governors to block the protests but we want them to create understanding with university officials, especially on the 10 demands for the monarchy.” An interior ministry official confirmed that such letters had been sent and said it was standard procedure. The Palace did not respond to requests for comment.