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Bangkok protest rally wraps up after a letter of demand is presented to officials

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Bangkok protest rally wraps up after a letter of demand is presented to officials | Thaiger
PHOTO: Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul hands the "list of demands" to Pol Lt Gen Pakapong Pongpetra - Thai PBS World

As yesterday and this morning’s major rally wraps up, protest organisers have already announced the next rally for October 14, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising. Another gathering has been announced for this Thursday outside the Thai parliament. The growing tide of support for the student protesters, who government supporters are accusing of being puppets for “dark” opposition voices, continues to be a thorn in the side of the ruling coalition and Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The popular uprising of 14 October 1973 was a watershed event in Thailand’s history. The uprising resulted in the end of the ruling military dictatorship of anti-communist Thanom Kittikachorn and profoundly altered Thailand’s political landscape. The protests highlighted the growing influence of Thai university students in politics -Wikipedia

Bangkok protest rally wraps up after a letter of demand is presented to officials | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Protestors surround the Democracy Monument, Bangkok, during the 1973 uprising – europe-solidaire.org

Yesterday’s rally, which ran late into last night with thousands of protesters camping overnight on the royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang, ended just before lunchtime as the official “list of demands” were handed to the chief of the Bangkok Police Bureau.

The demands continue to include reform of the Thai monarchy, and other political reform, as outlined in the 10 point manifesto that protest organisers want presented to the Privy Council. Just outside the Privy Council Chambers, protesters quietly and briefly handed the document to the Pol Lt Gen Pakapong Pongpetra of the Metropolitan Police Bureau. It was handed to him by Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, one of the core leaders in the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration. Panusaya was the young female student who stood up at a protest gathering at Thammasat’s Rangsit campus on August 10 and read, for the first time, the list of demands contained in the manifesto.

Panusaya told the BBC earlier this week that she realised, following her August pronouncements, particularly regarding the Thai Head of State, that her life would never be the same.”

“There was fear lurking inside me, deep fear of the consequences.”

At the time of reading out the now infamous ‘manifesto’, even Panusaya thought the wording of the words were very ‘strong’ and realised that it would start a ball rolling that she would be unable to stop.

“I held hands with my fellow students, asking aloud whether we were doing the right thing here. The answer was yes – it’s the right thing to do. I then sat down again, smoked a cigarette before I went on stage and let everything in my head out,” she told BBC Thai.

Earlier today demonstrators installed a plaque, actually a replacement brass plaque, to declare the beginning of a new people’s movement. An original plaque had been located in the Royal Plaza commemorating the 1932 Siam Revolution, which ended up overthrowing Thailand’s absolute monarchy, and replacing it with a constitutional democracy, with he Thai monarch acting as the Head of State. The original plaque mysteriously went missing in 2017 with no one admitting to removing it or knowing anything about its whereabouts.

Politically, the protest organisers’ other demands include a new constitution to replace the 2017 Thai Charter, the resignation of the current government and PM, and an end to ongoing “harassment” of critics of the government, which includes arrests, people being followed and social media shaming by opposition MPs.

During the week Thai PM Prayut asked the protest organisers to postpone the weekend’s rally citing possible infections of Covid-19 as a reason to be concerned. Excepting 3 possible local infections (that are currently being investigated), Thailand had a run of 101 days without any recorded infections of the coronavirus.

Some 30,000 people defied the rain and sea of umbrellas to attend the rally which started by breaking into the Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus grounds, moved to Sanam Luang, and then this morning to the chambers of the Privy Council to pass over the document.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | BBC Thai | Will Langston

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    BLM

    Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    The.effects​ of.the.protests are.amazing…. Ordinary Thais​ of​ all​ ages​ are​ opening​ up​ and.speaking against.the.unspeakable with​ no​ urging.
    Protest​ is​ on​ many​ people​s​ lips, openly, freely express​ed, like​ never​ before!!!!

    • Avatar

      Geoff

      Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      Total waste of time. No widespread support. Ignored compketely in the wider community. The issue is not the monarchy, nor democracy, but the economy. When millions of people are unemployed and hungry they could care less about notions like democracy.

      • The Thaiger & The Nation

        The Thaiger & The Nation

        Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm

        Seeing you have such intimate insight into last night’s activities, could you please provide a full report and some photos and we’ll gladly post the information.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, September 21, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    There seems to be no end to the suppression of the ordinary Thai through the fake excuse of danger of virus.
    The facts and statistics are clear. The danger of death due to the virus is tiny.
    The whole world has not even a million deaths yet, and many of those deaths are in conjunction with other health issues.
    When the ordinary Thai becomes really hungry they will rise up . . .

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded

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Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: VIP clubs and their wealthy customers may have violated rules and led to Covid-19 outbreaks

Investigations are being demanded by a corruption watchdog into Thai politicians infected with Covid-19 after allegedly attending venues in the Thong Lor entertainment venues in Bangkok that have now emerged as the ground zero for the Coronavirus third wave in the Kingdom.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand are being asked to investigate the latest Covid-19 outbreak, noting in a Facebook post that the second wave was also linked to illegal activities, spreading through illegal migrants and other visiting gambling dens. This third wave is also angering those who see the wealthy elite and powerful politicians frequenting high-end bars and not following Covid-19 safety protocols.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of ACT argues that the ministers visiting these clubs did not behave “ethically”, and it’s part of a larger problem. He is pushing for legal action against not only club owners, but against police, public health officials, and even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for failing to enforce laws to protect against Covid-19.

Investigations into whether the code of ethics had been violated were requested to be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman and the committee on ethical standards.

As entertainment venues have been ordered closed for at least 2 weeks, Mana proposes that along with restrictions, a hotline to report rule-breakers should be set up, and all people should be held to the same standard without exception.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society agreed, saying that especially important is the need for Covid-19 infected public officials to disclose their personal timelines to reassure the public and assist in contract tracing. It is feared that little or no action will be taken to investigate and punish powerful rulebreakers.

One controversial infection was that of Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, rumoured to be infected from Thong Lor nightclubs, but later shown to be in another province at the time. The entertainment venue outbreak was not completely innocent though, as details emerged that the minister’s infection was in fact passed to him via an aide who had frequented clubs in Thong Lor.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour owner turned activist, has been outspoken on the issue, calling for investigations into high-society VIP clubs like Krystal Club and Emerald Club, who allegedly flaunted restrictions and ended up with dozens of Covid-19 infected staff members.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau chief had said that legal action was pending against these clubs for the virus spreading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Protests

Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests

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Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests | Thaiger
PHOTO: Demonstration attendance has been falling in the face of Covid-19, coups and crackdowns.

While protesters against the Thai government are continuing as they have for endless months, attendance is lessening in the face of crackdowns, coups and Covid-19. The throngs of 10,000 plus protesters, mostly energetic youth, that waved The Hunger Games 3 finger salute and demanded change in Thailand last summer have thinned to a few thousand or less these days.

The government isn’t in the clear yet though, as the protester’s calls to replace the current government, lessen the power of the Thai monarchy, and draw up a new constitution are still popular ideas. But a number of factors are causing protester size and vigour to wane.

The second wave of Covid in December quickly curbed the daily demonstrations for fear of spreading the virus. After that, the coup in Myanmar on February 1 has brought massive protests with international attention shifting to the growing humanitarian crisis just across the border. On top of the pandemic and the Burmese coup, the Thai government has taken a much more hardline approach to protesters in recent months.

Police began fighting back against mass demonstrations, dispersing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And after 2 years of leniency, the government has begun prosecuting people under the strict lèse-majesté laws, where offending the monarchy can carry harsh punishment including a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Anon Nampa, a human-rights lawyer, and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a student activist, have already been arrested under this law and held without bail. Arrests like these have been demoralising for the pro-democracy movement, and have scared away a lot of Thai protesters. Many have shifted focus to more immediate efforts to demand the release of the detained protest leaders.

Even with the crowds shrinking, the protests have already brought about change, bringing once unspeakable conversations into the national conversation, and keeping pressure on Thailand’s leaders. Opposition is growing, with efforts to push no-confidence votes and amendments to the constitution being constantly proposed and advocated.

SOURCE: The Economist

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