Students of Thammasat University will hold a protest on August 10 at the university’s Rangsit campus, just north of Bangkok in Pathum Thani province, despite the Thai government’s ban on protests. A new ban on public gatherings was published in the Royal Gazette on Monday to “prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
The controversial ban on protests is permitted under the Emergency Decree which has now been extended 19 times. Thailand is still in a “state of emergency” according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). The current decree is in place until September 30.
On Tuesday, pro-democracy activists Worawan “Pa Pao” Sae-ung and six other protestors were sentenced to one year in jail with three-year parole, a 20,000 baht fine and 24 hours of community service for holding a protest on August 11, 2021, on the basis that the protest “could have spread Covid-19.”
Yesterday, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration made the following announcement on Facebook…
“Thammsat University Student Council would like to announce a mob.
Get ready for a mob on August 10 at Phaya Naga Square at Thammasat University.
Returning Thammasat to the people. Returning democracy to society.
Wake up free people. Do not tolerate it.
No matter the weapons, they cannot beat the power of the people.”
The final line of the post refers to a poetic quote by Yuthaphong Purisamban used in the 1973 Thai popular uprising, an impactful protest which resulted at the end of the military dictatorship of ruler Thanom Kittikachorn and sparked changes in the Thai political system.
The quote implies that although Thailand’s military forces have weapons – which they have historically not been afraid to use on protestors – the power of the people is stronger, and democracy will win over violence.
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