Deep South Muslim Group Rallies For 2 Feb Election

(31 January) A group of Muslim citizens and officials from the three southern border provinces gathered at a mosque in Pattani province to show their support for 2 February election.

The demonstrators – which included Muslim representatives, local community leaders, provincial officials, and other individuals – also express their disagreement with anti-government protesters who have been obstructing election in the southern region.
Local supporters of People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) have been occupying Hat Yai Post Office in Songkhla province since 29 January to block the distribution of ballot papers to 5 ′Deep South′ provinces: Songkhla, Satun, Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat. 
PCAD, which opposes the 2 February poll on the ground that Thailand needs "reform" before election, has also disrupted advance voting in 10 southern provinces on 26 January.
But Mr. Abdullah Masae, Deputy President of Pattani Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO), said at the rally in front of Pattani Central Mosque today that the PCAD has "violated the rights of the people under Thailand′s democratic regime with the King as Head of State".
Reading from a statement, Mr. Abdullah charged that the occupation of the Post Office in Songkhla province had shown that the "narrow-minded" PCAD protesters had no regard for the dignity and rights of other citizens.
The protesters have also attempted to assert their authority over the "destiny of Pattani′s Malay people", Mr. Abdullah said.
The statement condemning the action of PCAD was later submitted to related authorities, such as Mr. Naruephon Laetee, Deputy Governor of Pattani, Chief of the Pattani Provincial Police, representatives of the Pattani Election Commission (EC), and representative of Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre.
The pro-election demonstrators then urged Songkhla’s branch of PCAD and the EC to proceed with the election on 2 February. They also threatened to escalate their protests if the election on 2 February was obstructed either by ECs who refused to perform their duties, or the anti-government protesters.
Despite its reputation as a restive province plagued by separatist violence, advance voting in Pattani on 26 January somehow took place smoothly, unlike 10 other southern provinces where PCAD supporters blocked polling stations.



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