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Anti-Prayut running event organiser hopes to avoid confrontation



PHOTO: Organisers say they've already filled all spots for the run
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A key organiser of the proposed anti-government running event, the “Run Against Dictatorship”, is urging its pro-government ‘spoiler event’ to ensure there’s no confrontation when the rival events are held on Sunday.

“Run Against Dictatorship” is “Wing Lai Lung” (วิ่งไล่ลุง) in Thai, which literally means “Run to Oust the Uncle,” a reference to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s nickname, “Uncle Tu.”

Tanawat Wongchai, the student activist behind the January 12 anti-government protest event, says he’s done his part to avoid tensions, and hopes the rival “Walk to Support Prayut” group won’t incite violence.

The run was originally scheduled to start at Thammasat University and include routes along Ratchadamnoen Avenue, but Tanawat says they were pressured by police to change the venue. It is now set to take place inside Wachirabenchathat Park, aka Suan Rot Fai, in north Bangkok’s Chatuchak district.

“We have retreated by organising the event at a faraway location in order to reduce the risks. We’ve done everything to avoid confrontation.”

Tanawat, who studies economics at Chulalongkorn University, says 10,000 people have registered for the run at this stage, which starts at 6:30am. Nearly two million baht has also been raised from around 3,000 runners who each donated 600 baht to cover the event’s costs. Those donors will receive a T-shirt and a medallion.

Meanwhile, the pro-government Walk for Prayut will be held inside Lumpini Park in central Bangkok on the same morning. It has been mostly organised online, and it’s unclear who the actual organisers are. No group or activist has stepped forward to claim credit so far. Messages to the event’s Facebook page were not returned, but in a Facebook post the unnamed organisers made their position clear:

“If you oppose the orange water buffalo who hate this country, we are friends,” the message read, an apparent reference to supporters of the opposition Future Forward Party, whose official logo colour is orange.

Tanawat says his group has three demands for the Prayut administration and will give them three months to respond: solve economic problems, amend the constitution, end nepotism.Depending on the government’s response, or lack thereof, Tanawat says, the group will consider future actions.

“Run Against Dictatorship” has spawned similar running events in 20 provinces on the same day, mostly organised by online groups, but Tanawat insists he is not responsible for those.

“We want it to be made clear that these are different organising teams from the people organising the Bangkok event.”


Anti-Prayut running event organiser hopes to avoid confrontation | 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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