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Activists plan more protests nationwide in September

Jack Burton

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Activists plan more protests nationwide in September | The Thaiger
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Student activist groups across the country are threatening to step up anti-government protests in September if their demands are not met. The secretary-general of the Free Youth Movement said today that the planned protests include a march through the streets of Bangkok and prolonged nationwide protests. Tatthep Ruangprapaikitseri cited Sunday’s protest at the Democracy Monument as a “big show of force”, sending a message to the government about their 3 key demands.

The students’ original 3 demands, which have since grown into a 10 point manifesto, include a new Constitution, the dissolution of Parliament and an end to state harassment of protesters. Activists also want an end to coup d’états and a democratic system placing the Monarch under the Constitution.

Tatthep admits that major political changes cannot happen in Thailand without popular support, but points out that many ordinary citizens joined the protest at the Democracy Monument.

He dismissed concerns that the escalated protests next month could provoke violence, saying they’ll be peaceful and that the police will ensure peace and order.

“If there is violence, it will not come from the protesters. If there are third-party elements, then the government will be held accountable.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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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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Protests

5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters

The Thaiger

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5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters | The Thaiger

With impeccable timing, Nang Loeng police have summoned 5 protest leaders to appear before the Special Prosecutor’s Office at the Dusit District Court in Bangkok. They will be formally charged over their roles in a protest in front of the Army’s headquarters on July 20. At the time it followed an online exchange from an Army official criticising the students who had been protesting at the Democracy Monument days before.

The protest targeted Colonel Nusra Vorapatratorn, deputy spokesperson of the Army. Posting on her Facebook page about the Saturday protest, the Colonel said that rally’s participants should “focus on doing their jobs rather than joining the protest.” The Colonel later deleted the social media post.

Another army spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spoke to the media at the time and stated that Nusra “had expressed her personal opinion” and that “she is no longer the deputy spokesperson”.

After protesting outside the Army over the contents of the post, 5 protest leaders face official charges of “violating the Emergency Decree, the Traffic Act and use of loudspeakers in public without permission. The 5 protagonists facing charges are human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Piyarath “Toto” Jongthep, Suwanna Tarnlek and Panupong Jardnok (Mike Rayong).

All 5 deny the charges and say they will defend their roles in court.

The charges follow a weekend of protests, with up to some 30,000 people gathering in the Bangkok rain to rally against the government and confirm a 10-point manifesto which includes demands to reform Thai politics and the country’s monarchy. Specially the demands include the dissolution of the Thai parliament, standing down of the current PM and a new constitution to replace the 2017 Thai charter.

Today the Fine Arts Department has also says it will file charges of “trespassing on an archaeological site” after protesters yesterday embedded a symbolic brass plaque to replace another plaque that dates back to the 1932 Siam Revolution (when a bloodless coup overthrew the ‘absolute monarchy’ in Thailand). That plaque mysteriously disappeared in 2017.

The protesters responded this afternoon by saying that Sanam Luang is not an archaeological site, but a “public space for recreation and for vendors and hawkers”.

Following on from the support of the crowd over the weekend, the protesters are planning to stage another protest in front of Parliament this Thursday. A House debate on constitutional amendments is due to start this Wednesday.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Protesters’ plaque damaged historical site – Thai Fine Arts Department

Caitlin Ashworth

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Protesters’ plaque damaged historical site – Thai Fine Arts Department | The Thaiger
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The Thai Fine Arts Department claim the pro-democracy protesters, who installed a symbolic brass plaque in an area next to the Grand Palace yesterday morning, broke the law. The department filed a complaint saying the installation of the plaque damaged a historic site, a violation of the Archaeological Site Act.

Protesters cemented the plaque in the perimeter of the Royal Field, known locally as Sanam Luang. It read “At this place the people have expressed their will, that this country belongs to the people and is not the property of the monarch as they have deceived us.”

Sanam Luang is a registered archaeological site. Entering the area to install a plaque without permission is an offence under the Historical Sites, Archaeological Objects, Art Objects and National Museum Act 1961, according to the department’s director general Prateep Phengtako.

“Those who invade a historic site or destroy or depreciate it can face up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to 700,000 baht.”

The department says since the plaque was illegally installed at Sanam Luang as part of the weekend’s protests.

“It is considered destruction and depreciation of a historic site.

Less than 24 hours after the plaque was installed, it was removed and covered with concrete. The plaque was to replace a brass plaque that commemorated the end of Siam’s absolute monarchy and the introduction of constitutional democracy for Thailand in 1932. The original plaque mysteriously disappeared in 2017 and was replaced with a new plaque with a pro-monarchist slogan.

The Fine Arts Department made no comment at the time of the removal of the old historical plaque in 2017.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Protesters place plaque declaring Thailand “belongs to the people”

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Protesters place plaque declaring Thailand “belongs to the people” | The Thaiger

Protesters today have placed a plaque, in the area next to the Grand Palace, declaring Thailand “belongs to the people”. The declaration comes after anti-government sentiment has risen prompting rallies to take place in the capital hoping to oust the government and demand constituional changes. The plaque was cemented in the perimeter of the Royal Field, known locally as Sanam Luang, reading, “At this place the people have expressed their will: that this country belongs to the people and is not the property of the monarch as they have deceived us.”

The provocative wording is likely to elicit a response, probably much the same as the commemorative plaque it replaced, which mysteriously vanished in 2017. The missing plaque, embedded in the Royal Plaza, commemorated the 1932 Siam Revolution when citizens led a bloodless coup against the out-of-country monarch, and declared the new “Thailand” as a constitutional democracy.

The removed plaque was replaced with one bearing a pro-monarchist slogan and remains in place now.

The protests and plaque come despite a long-standing lese majeste law which makes it illegal for anyone to criticise the monarchy or the Royal Family. However, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri noted that the police would not use violence against the protesters, but it was up to them to determine and prosecute any illegal speech.

The protesters swarmed Bangkok’s historic Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus yesterday calling for the ousting of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, former coup leader and now current PM.

Police stayed back from the protest and didn’t intervene. Police and security wore coloured bandanas tied around their necks and were reportedly unarmed. Neither the police or the Palace has issued a statement in regards to the current events as of yet.

The Thaiger will have a full video report in tomorrow’s Thailand News Today. Here’s the most recent episode.

SOURCE: VOA News

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