At its Facebook page, The Isaan Record has a series of photos from its 8 July “public forum on freedom of expression in Isaan went ahead despite the presence of about 15 military and police officers, who took photos of the forum participants and videotaped the event.”
The first extensive report f the event we have seen is available at Prachatai.
In yet another example of how Orwellian the military regime is, this forum on freedom of expression was told by a gang of military and police thugs that the forum was “prohibited … to talk about politics, referendum, and the lèse majesté law.”
Apparently, the gang allowed a discussion of “human right issues only.” It seems the thugs are as dull as they are repressive.
The pictured gang leader, Lt Col Phitakphon Chusri stated: “We just want to warn them [the organisers] that if there’s any talk related to politics or Article 112, we cannot let them continue the event. Other topics are fine, but we would like to send some personnel to observe the discussion…”.
As well as monitoring and videotaping the event the regime also sent along provincial administration flunkies “and legal staff of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT)…”.
The report concludes:
The Isaan Record said that they thanked the authorities for prohibiting the discussion in the ‘Freedom of Expression in Isaan’ forum as the attendees could clearly understand what the human rights situation in the area looks like, adding that the threat of prosecution clarifies that freedom of expression has already been absent from Thai society.
Interesting, Lt Col Phitakphon and his gang are reportedly a part of the junta’s so-called peace keeping centers, recently established “to prevent incidents that would lead to violence and ensure a clean and fair referendum process…”.
As we noted when these “centers” were established, their true nature was to control and repress. The gang in Khon Kaen have demonstrated that the “centers” are doing the junta’s dirty work.