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Protests

5,000 pack Bangkok’s central shopping district to continue the protest

The Thaiger

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5,000 pack Bangkok’s central shopping district to continue the protest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Free Youth
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Police have been taken aback by the huge amount of support for a protest at Bangkok’s famous Ratchaprasong Intersection, the site of the 2015 Erawan Shrine bombing incident where 20 people died. Bangkok, currently under a State of Emergency, declared by the Thai government in the early hours of this morning, is on edge this evening as huge crowds swarmed into the city’s main shopping precinct.

At this stage the protesters have filled a large chunk of Ratchadamri Road after being blocked by police to assemble at the Ratchaprasong Intersection. The estimate of 5,000 participants is from 2 leading news sites but is not official. As of mid evening, around 9pm, the protest shows no sign of dissipating.

Large numbers of university and school students also headed to the intersection to join in following their classes today. Most were still in their school uniforms and even proudly posed to police whose main ‘weapon’ was their cameras which they say will help them identify protesters and supporters.

This afternoon’s protest at Ratchaprasong Intersection is in defiance of the State of Emergency which stated that not more than 5 people could assemble following the declaration. Although no official estimates are currently available, there are more like 5,000+ attending this evening’s assembly, rather than 5.

People attending the protest were openly displaying the 3 finger salute, the defiant symbol of these protests, and yelled “release our friends” and “down with dictatorship” at the attending police. In the early hours of this morning more than 20 people were arrested in relation to yesterday’s protest and march.

After being initially blocked by police, the crowd moved onto the adjacent Ratchadamri Road. One of the busiest intersections in the city, the city’s afternoon peak was thrown into confusion.

Protesters also shouted “my tax money” – a controversial chant that was yelled at a yellow Rolls Royce as it passed through the protest route late yesterday afternoon in a 200 metre-long motorcade.

Rally leaders diffused this afternoon’s rising tensions by urging the protesters for “calm” and emphasised a non-violent approach to this and their other protests. So far, over the 3 months of protests, restraint has been shown on both sides and, despite a few minor scuffles, there has been no major violence or injuries.

Police were deployed to the intersection and were in force by 4pm when the crowd began to swell.

Meanwhile, news started to spread that Arnon Nampa, one of the protest organisers and a human-rights lawyer, had been flown back to Chiang Mai to face “sedition charges” following rallies in Chiang Mai and Pathum Thani in August and September where he spoke out against Thailand’s monarchy, calling for reform.

Arnon posted he had been denied access to a lawyer on his Facebook page, shortly before it was taken down.

Meanwhile, 3 police, including one officer charged with overseeing crowd control during yesterday’s royal motorcade, have been transferred to inactive posts. They’ve been identified as deputy chief Metropolitan Police Somprasong Yenthuam, the city’s 1st division commander Prasai Jittasonthi, and Security and Crowd Control Commander Manop Sukonthanapat.

Reasons for their removal have not been officially made public but it has been widely leaked that their side-lining is linked to the failure of police to clear protesters from Phitsanulok Road yesterday afternoon before a royal motorcade, including Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, passed along the same route as the protesters, on their way to a religious ceremony at War Arun.

Video footage from yesterday clearly shows the angry protesters shouting slogans and swearing at the passing yellow Rolls Royce, just metres away from the car, whilst police ran along the side of the vehicle trying to clear the way as they went, forming a chain of defence. Some of this footage can be seen in today’s Thailand News Today.

Just after 4am this morning, an order was issued by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, under the terms of the current emergency decree, for a State of Emergency in Bangkok, citing, in part, “obstruction to the royal motorcade”.

No protesters stood in the way of the motorcade, according to numerous reports from yesterday’s incident. Some commentators are questioning the timing and route taken by the royal motorcade. Before his arrest today, protest leader Arnon Nampa, responding to the speculation, said that the police brought the motorcade towards the protesters, not the other way around. He suggested the situation had been staged to make the protesters look bad.

As the evening drags on in Bangkok, there are no signs of the crowds diminishing in the city’s central shopping district.

5,000 pack Bangkok's central shopping district to continue the protest | News by The Thaiger

Screencapture from live stream on Facebook/FreeYouth this evening around 8.40pm

5,000 pack Bangkok's central shopping district to continue the protest | News by The Thaiger

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 15, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    At last the Thais have begun to rebel.
    The more the dictators arrest the more the citizens will become enraged.
    I hope it keeps fine for the protesters.

  2. Avatar

    Suchart

    October 16, 2020 at 4:31 am

    Down with dictatorship !!

  3. Avatar

    Yuki

    October 16, 2020 at 9:20 am

    Not 5000

    At least 50,000

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Transport

Suvarnabhumi’s new terminal ready for 2022

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Suvarnabhumi’s new terminal ready for 2022 | The Thaiger
GRAPHIC: Artist impression of the new Sat-1 terminal at BKK - hok.com

The extension of the Suvarnabhumi terminal will be operational by the start of 2022, according to Thai transport minister Saksayam Chidchop. The new Satellite Terminal 1 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport will increase the total capacity of Thailand’s largest airport terminal by 15 million passengers a year, allowing the total airport capacity to cope with traffic up to 90 million per year.

The 4-level concourse building has 28 aircraft contact gates, 8 of which will serve aircraft up to the A380 jumbo size. A new underground automated people mover and baggage handling system connects the new building to Suvarnabhumi’s main terminal.

The concourse’s contemporary design is infused with subtle cultural references that add to its “Thainess”. It includes a diamond-patterned ceiling, with crisscrossing arched ribs infilled with timber-coloured slats. Interior gardens follow the trend of Singapore’s Changi adding a tropical landscape.

Construction on the 3rd runway has also commenced and should be receiving aircraft by 2023.

Suvarnabhumi Airport management has also used the downtime, whilst the airport has been quiet during the ‘disruption’ to fix the potholes and ‘sinkage’ in parts of the existing runways. Some 700,000 square metres of runway and taxiway service is under repair at this time, soaking up a budget of 4 billion baht.

The new terminal and repairs come at a time when world airline traffic is at its lowest for decades. The world wide Covid-19 pandemic has closed borders, grounded entire airline fleets and decimated the world’s travel industry. Since March when air traffic plummeted, there has been a gradual ungrounding of fleets, primarily in non-commercial and non-passenger-carrying fleets. Commercial scheduled traffic is still very low.

Suvarnabhumi's new terminal ready for 2022 | News by The Thaiger

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Events

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong – float away the woes of 2020

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong – float away the woes of 2020 | The Thaiger

The Loy Krathong festival is tonight, this year coinciding with Halloween. If you’re living in Bangkok you’re spoiled for choice with launching locations.

There is no equivalent word in English for ‘krathong’. You might hear it described as a small boat or vessel. Many shops, market and roadside stalls will display ready-made krathongs, or in parts so you can assemble and decorate to create your very own krathong. Try and steer away from the polystyrene ones with bits of plastic and lots of pins. They will end up washed up on some riverbank or lakeside as pollution – dangerous to fish, animals and you.

Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river or water catchment. Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar so the exact date of the festival changes every year.

Authorities are also urging people to avoid the new craze of “edible” Krathongs this year. Using bread and other edible products can become a problem for the catchments’ ecology and may even kill the fish if they try and eat too much of it. Bread also doesn’t float very well!

Here’s a useful guide with a few options to launch your environmentally-friendly krathong. How to make a krathong? Below…

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong - float away the woes of 2020 | News by The Thaiger

Chao Phraya River – The River Festival 2020
Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river is hosting another three-day party, with ten piers participating in krathong workshops, arts and crafts, and Loy Krathong rituals at nearby Buddhist temples. A free shuttle boat will connect the different piers. Check out the Facebook page for more information.

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong - float away the woes of 2020 | News by The Thaiger

Asiatique
If you’re ready to experience Loy Krathong the way the locals do, head to Asiatique, the riverfront night market, which is where you will find the biggest crowds and some impressive shows. Traffic in the area will be very bad and there’ll be long queues to take the shuttle boat in front of Saphan Taksin BTS Station.

The Temple Fair
Head to Wat Saket for its long-running temple fair, popular with Bangkok residents for decades. Buddhist merit-making rites take place at the top of the hill, while at the bottom, you can enjoy weird and wonderful street food and a carnival-like atmosphere. Check more details HERE.

Bangkok locations for Loy Krathong - float away the woes of 2020 | News by The Thaiger

The Park
Around 30 of the city’s parks will be open for Loy Krathong but note that alcohol is prohibited. You can float your krathong at Lumpini Park, Chatuchak Park or Benchasiri Park among others. A major park celebration will be held under the east bank of Rama VIII bridge and near the Sam Yot MRT, at Khlong Ong Ang.

The Universities
Chulalongkorn, Thammasat and Kasetsart universities, and others, are holding Loy Krathong celebrations this year. Chulalongkorn will open its pond to the public but note that only small candle krathongs are permitted. The Tha Prachan campus at Thammasat host an afternoon fair, with participants invited to bring environmentally friendly krathongs. Kasetsart will hold a similar event in the evening. All universities will have food stalls and entertainment on offer. Check university websites for details.

The Romantic Date
Couples who want to avoid the crowds and have a quieter celebration may want to head to the riverside arts centre, The Jam Factory. After setting your krathong afloat, grab some popcorn and enjoy a couple of Thai movies being screened outdoors on a vintage projector. Free entry.

Hotels
Just about every hotel in Bangkok will be hosting some sort of Loy Krathong event. If they’got a pool, be assured the staff will be decked out in traditional Thai finery, and you’ll be invited to float a Krathong. Many of the events will have a charge and include dinner or buffet.

Or make you own and launch it in the bath

Happy Loy Krathong!

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Protests

Four released, three re-arrested, drama outside the Bangkok Remand Prison

The Thaiger

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Four released, three re-arrested, drama outside the Bangkok Remand Prison | The Thaiger

Another evening of drama, but this time not in the streets but during the release and re-arrest of several of the key anti-government protest leaders. 3 of 4 protest leaders who were released on bail by the Criminal Court yesterday, after the court rejected a police request to keep them detained on remand, were re-arrested. The court rejected a police request on grounds that it was “unnecessary for them to be detained further” and that the court “must consider the rights and liberties” of the detainees “who are still students”.

Just moments after their release police placed more charges on them before they were able to walk from the jail to awaiting family and crowds of supporters.

The only protester to walk free was Patiwat Saraiyam who was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison early last evening with no other charges awaiting her.

The re-arrest of Parit “Penguin” Chivarak, Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jardnok and Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul was strongly objected to by the the protesters’ lawyer, Noraseth Nanongtoom. He claims that the police action was unlawful, because the arrest warrants, issued by the police in 3 provinces, were invalid after the 3 protesters had acknowledged, but denied, all the charges. He said that they would resort to “civil disobedience” claiming their re-arrest was illegal. He said he would petition the court to free the 3.

None of the 3 protesters were allowed to meet with their lawyer before the charges were laid.

The Guardian reports that all 3 of the released protesters ended up in hospital.

“Three prominent Thai pro-democracy leaders are in hospital after chaotic scenes outside a Bangkok police station overnight as officers tried to slap them with further criminal charges.”

The warrants for arrest were filed by police in Ayutthaya, Ubon Ratchathani and Nonthaburi provinces.

The police’s re-arrest of the 3 protest leaders also caused drama among their families, friends and supporters, who were waiting outside the Bangkok Remand Prison, in some cases travelling for many hours to get to Bangkok, to welcome their freedom, after hearing about the court’s order granting them bail.

In the developing chaos outside the remand prison “Penguin” ripped off his shirt and Panusaya took to the PA system that had been provided by the growing number of supporters . They pledged to keep protesting peacefully and challenged their re-arrest.

More drama followed when “Mike Rayong” was carried, clearly compromised and slumped in the arms of a police officer, from a police van that had brought him from the remand prison to the Pracha Chuen station station before being taken away in an ambulance. He is said to be in a satisfactory condition at the Praram 9 Hospital, recovering from what police described as a “minor scuffle”.

Local media reports that he fainted after allegedly being put in a “chokehold” by attending police.

To date, around 80 people have been arrested in connection with protests staged around the country, mostly in Bangkok. Most are now free on bail but a handful remain behind bars.

In other news the Appeals Court has rejected a bail application for protest leaders and human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, citing his release could lead to his participation in more unrest or an attempt to flee. Anon was arrested and charged over various transgressions at the Thammasat University campus and nearby Sanam Luang on September 19 and 20.

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