Former Kao Klai candidate fired over incident at Friday protest in Samut Prakan

A former election candidate for the Kao Klai Party has offered a public apology for an incident, which occurred on Friday night during a rally held by a labour union in Samut Prakan province, when two men in black shirts tried to seize the microphone from a student activist as she was addressing the crowd.

The incident prompted demonstrators, mostly members of the Labour Assembly, to protest and shout at the two strangers, who were forced to retreat. Supporters of the protest later flooded social media with messages of condemnation of the two unidentified men, whom they accused of being plain clothed police or military officers.

Mr. Thawatchawin Kopatta, a former candidate for the Kao Klai Party, later admitted that he had taken the two men to the protest to make sure that speakers did not touch on the Thai Monarchy, as he had promised the Superintendent of Samrong Nua police station he would do.

He said the police officer had no problem with the protest, provided that there was no reference to the revered institution.

Thawatchawin said the incident was a misunderstanding by the two men in black shirts, who thought the speaker, Ms. Chuthatip Sirikhan, president of the Student Union of Thailand, was referring to the Monarchy, when she talked about the budget of the Office of the Royal Household, and they tried to stop her by seizing her microphone.

He said he regrets the incident and offered an apology to the police and the public for the misunderstanding.

Kao Klai MP of Samut Prakan, Mr. Wutthinan Boonchu, however, was not satisfied. On Facebook he said he decided to fire Thawatchawin from his team of advisors with immediate effect.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)