Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, March 15th to the 21st, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in the order of date of publication.
1. Prime Minister, along with cabinet ministers, successfully receives Thailand’s first shot of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine this morning
After a sudden postponement due to an urgent report of a blood clot found in injected European patients, the Prime Minister led several cabinet ministers to receive Thailand’s first shot of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination at the Government House in order to build public confidence in vaccine safety before distributing the vaccines to medical frontliners and local people nationwide. However, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai had refused the inoculation, reasoning their old age and prior health conditions.
2. People’s Constitutional Amendment charter dropped in 10-hour heated joint Thai Parliament session yesterday
Another failure in an attempt to amend the current constitution reoccurred again after the amendment bill was rejected during a 10-hour joint parliament session. The bill sought to set up a so-called “people’s constitution-drafting assembly” to write a new constitution as the current constitution was legislated during a military coup in 2017, led by General Prayut Chan-O’Cha, now Prime Minister. The failure means the process of the amendment process must start again but this time with a national referendum that would ask the people of the country overall whether they want the amendment or not, prior to a charter vote in the parliament, resulting in a longer process which could take months or years.
3. Thai government finalizes several important issues, namely Songkran festival, Emergency Decree extension, health measures for domestic relaxation, Covid-19 vaccine policies, and state quarantine measures
The issues include the Songkran festival, Emergency Decree extension, health measures for domestic relaxation, Covid-19 vaccine policies, and state quarantine measures relaxation. The most anticipated decision of the Songkran festival had also been made that the holiday refrains from big celebrations but rather focuses more on traditional aspects to prevent the spread of Covid-19, despite concerns from the tourism and business sector against the prohibition as it would cause a tremendous loss to the domestic economy. More details of decisions can be seen in the article below.
4. 32 people arrested, at least 32 others injured during hours-long intense confrontation at pro-democracy protests in Bangkok
More tension has risen between “REDEM” pro-democracy protesters and crowd control police during a harsh confrontation at Sanam Luang of Bangkok last Saturday, causing injuries to many people from both parties. Rubber bullets, water cannons, and tear gas were reportedly fired at the crowd of protesters as well as explosions were frequently heard and clouds of smoke were also spotted at the protest’s site. The violent dispersal was conducted as the protesters were, according to the police, destroying police barricades and violating the Emergency Decree. Additionally, about 30 protesters, including minors whose ages were between 14 to 16 years old, were arrested and directly taken to Border Patrol Police Region 1 that night.
And that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!