FIVE activist groups held a demonstration in front of the Government House today (Jan.18) calling for urgent measures to resolve the rising cost of living, Matichon newspaper said.
The five groups, Labour Network for People’s Rights, 24 June Democracy Group, New Generation Network in Nonthaburi, administrative and student organisations of Kasetsart University and Thalu Fa, tabled three proposals as follows:
– Reduce costs, cut VAT and petrol excise tax, as well as slash tuition fees by 50 percent;
– Increase old age allowance to 3,000 baht and child allowance to 1,200 baht a month as well as increase minimum wage to 425 baht a day;
– Reduce product prices and resolve monopoly problems as well as check the concealment of African Swine Fever (ASF) spreading among pigs and hoarding;
The demonstrators started gathering in front of the Government House at 10 a.m. which was blocked with metal panels and guarded by 10 policemen.
At 10.30 p.m. policemen from Nang Loeng police station warned the protesters that their gathering was an offence under the emergency decree.
They had also closed the Phitsanulok road from Phanitchayakan to Suan Misakawan intersection and warned demonstrators they would be breaking the law if they brought stereo systems to this area.
They also told jeering protesters to perform their activities at Chamai Maru Chet Bridge.
Mr. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, the leader of the 24 June Democracy Group, said police obstruction hampered people’s freedom of expression. People want to complain about the hardship they are facing and to urge the government to resolve these difficulties and create a progressive economic system.
Today’s gathering was peaceful with a petition to be submitted to the government to ease the people’s suffering, he added.
Ms. Thanaporn Wichan, the leader of the Labour Network for People’s Rights, said the government is destroying the country through mismanagement with pork priced at 300 baht a kilogramme never seen before.
Scenes from today’s protest in front of Government House. Photos: Matichon