Vote for constitutional amendments in Parliament in Thailand delayed at least one month, protesters upset with decision

PHOTO: Noppakow Kongsuwan

Bangkok –

A crowd of protesters gathered in front of the Parliament to witness the awaiting decision of potential constitutional amendments by members of parliament and senators who were originally expected to start voting at 6:00 PM today, September 24.

The demand for constitutional change by the pro-democracy demonstrators has been consistent since the mass protest over last weekend at Sanam Luang.

Some proposed constitutional amendments include crafting a new charter, electing new members of constituent assembly from an official election, and most importantly to the protesters, getting rid of the senator structure appointed and favored by the military-based government under Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O’Cha.

According to student protest leader Panupong Jadnok, today’s gathering proceeded until the final decision had been made and featured peaceful activities and a political speech regarding political interference of the Thai legislative process given by human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa.

A group of protesters was seen tying a giant white ribbon at the parliament gate to symbolically represent defiance against dictatorship as well as spray-painting a picture of the second ‘People’s Plaque’ which was removed by the authorities 24-hours after an installation at Sanam Luang. Multiple lawsuits were filed against protest leaders over this activity by various private individuals and organizations.

PHOTO: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights

The protesters were seen spilling onto the street in front of the Government’s house, meanwhile, Bangkok city officials were deployed at the entrance and the exit of the building and were closely monitoring the situation in order to maintain peace and order amongst the rally. Both sides, although spirited, remained peaceful and calm during the process.

The Parliament concluded two days of debate around 8:30 PM after the majority of the members failed to vote for constitutional amendments and instead voted for the establishment of a 45 member committee to thoroughly consider the proposals, which will also delay the amendment process by at least one month.  Some media sources report that the Parliament is also due for a recess so in reality this delay could possibly be longer than a month.

The Parliament MPs and senators left parliament around 8:45 PM, some left by car and were booed at by outrageously upset protesters and some reportedly had left by boat to avoid confrontation with the protesters. A few directly walked through the crowd, who remained peaceful. The protesters cheered opposition MP’s and booed Pro-Government MP’s as they left the Parliament building.

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