Between May 21-22, 2018 the group of pro-democracy activists ‘Start Up People’ held a rally calling for general elections within 2018 and for the NPCO to step down from the power after having taken control of the country for four years since the 2014 coup. The participants gathered in Thammasat University since the evening of May 21 and started to march to the Government House on May 22. However, they had been blocked and forced to retreat by police force until the organizers finally had to call the demonstration to a halt nearby Makhawanrangsan bridge where 15 demonstrators have been arrested by the police and have been filed a number of charges by the NPCO itself, including that of violating the NPCO Order No.3/2558 (3/2015) under which political gathering of five persons or more is strictly prohibited. Until now those under arrest are still detained at Phayathai Police Station and Chanasongkram Police Station since the evening of May 22.
According to this, we – as the founding members of the Future Forward Party – would like to state our opinion that we deem the rally to be a non-violence and peaceful demonstration and as a legitimate mean to express civil rights and freedom under democracy; while a suppression of the demonstrators by police force is a serious violation of demonstrators’ civil rights. Furthermore, an imposition of the junta’s NPCO Order No.3/2558 which grants state officers unrestricted and unchecked limit of power is actually a more ruinous violation of civil rights and even against the NPCO’s-drafted 2017 Constitution.
The founding members of the Future Forword Party hereby condemn the suppression of the ‘Start Up People’ and the detainment and filing charges against the demonstrators. We also demand that the government:
1. Unconditionally release all the demonstrators now under police detainment.
2. Revoke the NPCO Order No.3/2558 and all NPCO Orders that violate civil rights and that are against constitution.
3. Ensure that general elections will be held soon, at least within February, 2019 according to the promise of the head of NPCO.
We demand that sovereign power be returned to the people!
The founding members of the Future Forward Party,
May 23, 2018