01 July 2016
PM and head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Prayuth Chan-ocha 2 June said if Constitutional Court rules against a provision of recently enacted Referendum Act, constitutional referendum scheduled for 7 Aug would be postponed. Provision in question prohibits aggressive or rude language that disrupts referendum with penalty up to ten years’ jail; human rights groups argue that restrictions on speech deemed “inconsistent with the truth” are unconstitutionally vague. Election Commission (EC) commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn 17 June threatened prosecution of online critics who post “rude, false and provocative” statements critical of the draft constitution. Constitutional Court 29 June ruled Referendum Act accords with interim constitution. Red Shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) early June announced it would establish “anti-fraud centres” across country to monitor referendum. NCPO mid-month decided centres violated prohibition on public gatherings for political activities; soldiers shut down some 30 anti-fraud centres around country. UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan called for the UN and other international bodies to monitor referendum. Insurgent attacks in Deep South included: in Narathiwat, two rangers killed in ambush in Rangae district 31 May, four insurgents and a ranger killed in clashes in Chanae district 1 June, Malay-Muslim village head and assistant killed in drive-by shooting in Cho Airong district 6 June; in Pattani, five people injured in shooting in Khok Pho district 5 June; bombs exploded Panare district and Mayo district same day, no casualties; two soldiers and five civilians injured by motorcycle bomb in Nong Chik district 9 June; two more soldiers wounded in bomb attack in same district 20 June; car bomb in Narathiwat 26 June injured two people.