On May 27, 2018 a meeting to found the Future Forward Party was held at the Rangsit campus of Thammasat University where over 700 participants have attended to approve the party’s core values, principles, policy, and rules and to elect its first executive committee according to the legal procedures. The procedure in the meeting was a realization of the practice of democratic participation and decentralization policy, which is a core policy of the party. Thus, founding members from across the country have gathered in the event, including representatives from labor and youth networks of the party.
In addition, a public session was held in the afternoon, in which took place a manifestation of party’s core values and party lines and a staging of vision forum for party’s leaders and representatives. The session attracted around 3,000 participants from varied backgrounds and demographic groups, while a number of approximately 160,000 views of online audiences – counting both live broadcast and archived views – on party’s FB page have been reached. For us, this is a sign showing people’s interest to have a participation in our party and we indeed feel greatly honoured.
However, apart from an appearance of regular patrol police, a considerable number of officers in uniform and in plain-clothes also presented among participants during the event. These officers have diligently taken photos of the meeting and of the plate of cars parking around the venue. Consequently, many founding members that had attended the meeting reported that a few days later some officers have unexpectedly showed up around their accommodation and have menaced them aggressively.
Such deed is unmistakably a threat to the freedom of movement and a violation of associative rights of the citizen. Even though political gathering is generally not allowed under the NPCO Order No.3/2558 (3/2015), the Future Forward Party – with its granted legal permission to call a meeting – should be entitled to have its members assembled for the purpose of party founding as with the case conducted by other parties.
We insist that every single founding party members who gathered for a meeting of party founding on May 27 were present there with their highest hope and good intention to revive people’s will and citizen participation back to the country. Hence there were no presence of any kind of illegal acts whatsoever, whether judging by ordinary laws or NPCO Orders.
Therefore, we demand that state officers should stop abusing of power and violating rights and freedom of the citizen and should treat every political party on equal ground. All political parties and every group of people should be allowed to conduct any democratic activities, in order that upcoming general elections shall be as free and fair as possible.
Acting Executive Committee of the Future Forward Party,
June 4, 2018