Thailand’s PM concerned about use of three-fingered sign by students

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern over the recent phenomenon of students raising three fingers, in many educational institutes, during the daily singing of the national anthem and whether any students who do not join in are boycotted or bullied as a result.

The Prime Minister said today that he understands the political expression of the students is sincere, but he also learned that some students, who disagree with this political gesture, have been targeted.

He said that he would like all parties concerned, including the students, to discuss this issue in a reasonable way.

Yesterday, Education Minister Nuttapol Teepsuwan said that students have the right to free expression, but reminded them that such expression must not be provocative or divisive.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party’s secretary-general, Mr. Anudit Nakorntap, said today that the party had received complaints from teachers that they had been harassed, by education officials, for allegedly failing to restrain the free political expression by students.

“The Pheu Thai Party believes that democracy must occur in schools first. Hence, school administrators and teachers should support their students in exercising their freedoms and liberties, within the framework of the law, and protect their students,” said Mr. Anudit.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has expressed concern about the safety of students participating in protests in Thailand and has urged all parties to respect free expression by youth and ensure their safety and protection from all forms of intimidation.

UNICEF said that educational institutes are safe places, where young people should be able to express their views in a creative manner, and space should be set aside on campus for the students to exchange those views and engage in discussion.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)