Military tries to censor political parodies at football match

Military officers have attempted to censor displays of political parody at the upcoming annual football match between Chulalongkorn (CU) and Thammasat University (TU).

Military officers in plainclothes at 17:40 pm on Wednesday, 4 February 2016, met with students of Thammasat University at Rangsit Campus who are in charge of the pre-match political parody parade at the 2016 CU-TU football match, which will take place on 13 February.

The plainclothes officers did not allow members of the press to participate in the meeting.

Today, Matichon Online reported that Somkid Lerdpaitoon, Rector of Thammasat University, expressed concerns about planned political parodies at the match.

The Rector said that although the students already met officers, the actual political displays at the match might turn out different from what was agreed during the discussion and that the student committee in charge might be replaced next year.

“Although they have talked, the parade will still be a procession of political parody floats, but in accordance with the agreement, there can be no rude language, names, etc.,” said Somkid.

Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, Vice Rector and law lecturer of Thammasat University, said that displays of political parody at the CU-TU football match are normal and that the junta should be open-minded about it.

Without the role of students during the 14 October 1973 student uprising, Thailand might have turned out to be a very different country.

Last year, prior to the start of the 2015 CU-TU football match, students defied martial law then in force with colourful political parody floats mocking the junta and demanding the return of democracy.

Some of the displays at the 2015 match read “down with dictatorship” and “dictatorship will fall and democracy will triumph”.

Prior to last year’s match, military officers requested the universities to cancel the parade in order to comply with the junta’s ban on political activity.


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