We remain bemused by the military junta’s approach to the draft charter. Sometimes it appears that the junta actually thinks they can force through a Yes vote in the referendum.
The junta had one of these delusions when they heard that Prachamati, which Prachatai says is an “online forum which summarises controversial content in the draft constitution and allow people to vote whether they agree or disagree with it” was planning “a seminar about the controversial new draft constitution titled ‘New Constitution: What Are We Going to Do?’…”.
Thai Police have banned the seminar declaring it a (seemingly threatening) political gathering of five or more persons, which the junta cannot abide, even if it organizes political events itself.
The seminar was to be held at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, hardly a known venue for sedition.
The police had the BACC staff tell “the organisers that they have to prohibit the event from being held at the venue.”
Prachamati responded, saying: “We just hope that people will still have space to express their opinion about the new draft constitution in various different means and not having their rights arbitrarily suppressed…. We will continue to campaign to create awareness about the draft charter online.”
Prachamati website was founded with the cooperation of Prachatai and Thaipublica, both middle-class alternative media agencies, iLaw, which monitors and promotes freedom of expression and the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, which is a part of Mahidol University.
The more the junta cracks down on the middle class, the weaker it seems. Whether that is due to internal rifts, authoritarian madness or fascist mentality, it matters little, for it widens repression and reduces support for the junta from the frightened middle classes.