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Prayut invited to join anti-govt run

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Prayut Chan-o-cha,Thai Prime Minister. Xinhua

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – Organisers of “Wing Lai Lung” (Run to Oust the Uncle) on Tuesday turned up at Government House to invite Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet to join the event on Sunday.

Led by Tanawat Wongchai and Sirin Mungcharoen, the group said the invitation was not intended as an insult to Prayut, but a chance for the premier to listen to the people.

“We’ve extended the invitation to Gen Prayut and his cabinet to hear the voices of those suffering from the way his previous and current administration run the country,” said Tanawat.

He sought to allay concerns about a possible confrontation with the prime minister’s supporters who are holding a rival event on the same day, saying the events will take place at separate venues. The run against the prime minister will be held at Suan Rot Fai, or Vachirabenjatas Park, on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road from 4.30am to 9am while the rival event, a walk held to support him, will take place at Lumpini Park on Rama IV Road.

Tanawat said about 10,000 people have registered for the Suan Rot Fai run and 60 percent ro 70 percent are expected to turn up.

The invitation was accepted by Sompat Nilpan, adviser to the Permanent Secretary Office, Prime Minister’s Office.

Elsewhere, authorities in Ubon Ratchathani and Phayao have refused to allow people to take part in local versions of the run to oust Prayut. Chatchai Kaewkhampod, organiser of the run in the Northeast province of Ubon Ratchathani, said he was told by deputy Muang police chief Pol Lt Col Pramote Cheunta that security authorities disapproved of the event over concerns for security and traffic obstruction. It was also claimed the event would obstruct alms-givers who gather every Sunday at Thung Sri Muang, a municipal landmark on the route.

However, Chatchai said the event would go ahead, as he had not received a written ban from authorities.

Police in Muang district of Phayao province also rejected a request by three Phayao University students to organise a similar run. Police said the request lacked necessary details for approval. Critics of the government have denounced the move, saying that under the law on public assembly, the run is considered a sports activity rather than a gathering.

City Hall defended its decision to allow the pro-Prayut walk at Lumpini Park this Sunday despite renovation plans afoot there. The Thai Red Cross Fair in November was supposed to be the park’s last event before the BMA clears the area for handover to contractors.

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