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“Run Against Dictatorship” events blocked in two Thai provinces

Jack Burton

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This Sunday’s planned “Run Against Dictatorship” anti-government protest event in Bangkok has spawned copycat campaigns across Thailand, which have now been prohibited in at least two provinces. Organisers of the Bangkok event have tried to clarify that they are not involved with the planning for any runs planned elsewhere in the country.

The campaign’s Thai name, “Wing Lai Lung” (วิ่งไล่ลุง) literally means “Run to Oust the Uncle,” a reference to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s nickname, “Uncle Tu.” The organisers of the Bangkok event even cheekily sent an official invitation to the Thai PM to join them in the run.

But now authorities in the northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani, and Phayao are refusing to allow local versions. The north east is a hot bed of anti-government sentiment and its rural residents were reliable supporters for Shinawatra and Pheu Thai governments in the past.

Chatchai Kaewkhampod, an organiser of the Ubon Ratchathani campaign, says police told him on Monday that provincial authorities had disapproved of the run, citing security and traffic concerns. Police also claimed the run would obstruct worshippers offering alms to monks at the Thung Sri Muang temple.

Thung Sri Muang is a municipal park and one of the locations along the planned route for the run.

Chatchai, an opposition candidate in the parliament under the Future Forward Party’s banner, said the Ubon Ratchathani run would go ahead since he hadn’t yet received any specific prohibition. The FFP has forbidden members to take part in organising the run, but is allowing them to join in the run if they wish.

A spokesman for the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee, says organisers of the copycat events are being pressured by authorities to not organise the events.

Rangsiman Rome, a party-list MP of FFP, says the Bangkok event has been approved and runs in other provinces should be no different.

Meanwhile, police in the Phayao province, just south of Chiang Rai, have rejected a request by local university students to organise a local “Run to Oust Uncle” event, saying the request “lacked the necessary details for approval”.

The application to run the event caused a school in Phayao to move its planned mini-marathon event forward from Sunday to this Saturday, fearing it might be dragged into politics if held on the same day.

“The mini-marathon of Chiang Kham Wittayakhom School is intended only to promote exercise and unity in the community. It will not be used as a political tool by others,” said a note from the school’s director.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

"Run Against Dictatorship" events blocked in two Thai provinces | News by Thaiger

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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