Muslim rally seen as pitch for NGO support

4th Army downplays separatist demands

Around the same time as the student rally in Pattani, paramilitary rangers were outfitted with blue scarves in an attempt to make them less intimidating to the civilian population. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)

A rally staged last week by Muslim students in which some demanded "self-determination" in the insurgency-plagued South was a move to gain financial support from European rights advocacy groups, according to 4th Army chief Piyawat Nakwanich.

The demand, espoused by separatist movements, was seen on placards held up by a number of students at the rally held on Friday in Pattani province.

Organisers of the rally, attended by students from universities in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla, said the aim was to call for peace in the South and mark the shooting deaths of three Muslim children from the same family three years ago.

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