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Activist vows university rally will take place, with or without permission

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: The Sun Daily

The political activist Parit Chiwarak, aka. “Penguin”, says a rally planned for September 19 at Thammasat University will go ahead, even if permission is refused from the University’s management. The gathering is set to take place at the university’s Tha Phra Chan campus in Bangkok, with Parit saying he expects around 50,000 people to attend.

Khaosod English reports that the activist says a request was submitted over a week ago, seeking permission to hold the rally, but university officials are yet to reply. Despite the silence, Penguin says he’s not daunted.

“We haven’t heard from them yet, but we will go ahead with the protest nonetheless.”

The group behind the rally, known as the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, has taken to Facebook to invite followers to come up with a name for the September 19 gathering. It’s understood around 500 suggestions have been put forward so far, including, “Dismantle, draft, and build a future”, “September 19, people will rule”, “No one is above others”, and the out-of-left-field “Meteorite Smashing Dinosaurs”.

The final name is expected to be confirmed today. Parit says there will also be a surprise in store at the gathering but has not provided any further information. The last protest held by the group took place at the university’s Rangsit campus, where the 10 point manifesto was unveiled. The manifesto’s focus on the Thai Monarchy prompted university officials to say they were unaware of the nature of the demands when they gave permission for the original rally to take place.

For the upcoming protest, activists say they welcome donations to fund the event and are also calling on the university’s students to volunteer as security guards.

Meanwhile, addressing the possibility of another military coup, after army trucks were seen entering Bangkok, Parit says such a tactic would be met with huge opposition, and not only by the students.

“I am a little worried. But I don’t think they will dare to carry out. If they do, they will lose any legitimacy that they have left. It will also be met with unprecedented resistance.”

The appearance of military vehicles in the capital caused a bit of a frenzy on social media, but the government says they were merely being used in an annual military exercise.

SOURCE: Khaosod English


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