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‘Mob Fest’ wraps up the Democracy Monument and turns backs on Thai King and Queen

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In a peaceful but controversial gesture, protesters yesterday turned their backs on the royal motorcade as it carried the Thai King and Queen to the opening of a new railway line. As their backs were facing the passing cars, the mostly young Thai protesters raised their hands with the 3 finger salute and sang the Thai national anthem. The symbolic gesture would have been clearly noted by the occupants of the yellow Rolls Royce.

Later, the protesters also wrapped the Democracy Monument with a banner which was covered in messages outlining their key demands.

There was an assembled 5,000-strong police and security force. The numbers were bolstered with border patrol, plainclothes and female police officers. They were un-armed but carried batons and riot gear.

The water cannons were also on standby, and had their tanks filled up in front of the government House – filled up in clear view, probably more of a threat than in intention to really use them again. Protesters complained that the blue-dyed water used at the Pathumwan Intersection in central Bangkok on October 16 had been also laced with a chemical irritant. The Bangkok Police Chief denied the claims at the time, but police later admitted to in front of a parliamentary committee that the water had contained tear gas.

The sub-groups of the larger Free Youth Movement – the Bad Students, Mob Fest and Free Women, and a smattering of other protest groups including LGBT and sex-worker organisations – had provided authorities with a full program of their planned events in advance to yesterday’s gatherings.

‘Bad Students’ have been pushing for reform in the Thai education system, changes to the dress codes and haircut rules for students, the resignation of the Education Minister and a call for greater scrutiny of sexual abuse and harassment cases at schools. They kicked off the day’s protests at the Education Ministry at midday. The gates were locked but the students partied out the front with music, dancing and a ceremonial display of a mock cremation of a portrait of the Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan at a rally in 2014 when he was a leader in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee movement, aka. ‘yellow shirts’.

The rally then marched to the Democracy Monument to join in the larger Mob Fest rally at the symbolic monument in Ratchadamnoen Avenue. They paraded a huge 35 square metre banner, carrying it over their heads and passing it down the line. It was covered in messages – the consistent messages by all protest groups – the resignation of the Thai PM, reform of the 2017 Thai Charter and reforms of the monarchy, to bring the role under the country’s constitution.

The smaller rallies all met at the monument at 2pm. To counter accusations from authorities that the rallies were losing popularity and the numbers were dropping, the organisers asked attendees to drop a 1 baht coin into a box so they could report the numbers to officials after the event. Probably not particularly accurate but more symbolic. The protesters then joined in the symbolic wrapping of the Democracy Monument with the huge banner they had been carrying earlier.

In the middle of the afternoon the King and Queen passed by on their way to the Sanam Chai MRT for the official opening of the Blue Line extension. The new station is quite near the Grand Palace. Their Majesties took a ride on the new line from the Sanam Chai to Lak Song stations, covering a distance of 11 kilometres. Thousands of yellow-clad well-wishers turned up to greet them along the route including some rent-a-crowd supporters bussed in from other provinces.

'Mob Fest' wraps up the Democracy Monument and turns backs on Thai King and Queen | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Gosport

    Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Bad Students, Mob Fest and Free Women. Why they don’t come up with good nicknames?

    But, peaceful peotest is good.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 10:36 am

      The ‘Bad Students’ is appropriate as it was taken from the students’ reports.

      The GPA in Thailand is based not only on academic performance but on ‘attitude’, and students who protested about dress codes, rote learning, etc, were marked down as ‘bad students’ for protesting, hence the group’s name.

      • Avatar

        Gosport

        Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 12:21 pm

        Poor students, why they take what others wordings as granted. Picking up defiant nicknames to show they are just as good as others. Their acceptance of the names is the manifesto of good behaviors appreciated by rigid schools.

  2. Avatar

    Denis

    Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    “‘Bad Students’ have been pushing for reform in the Thai education system, changes to the dress codes and haircut rules for students, the resignation of the Education Minister and a call for greater scrutiny of sexual abuse and harassment cases at schools.”

    What a reform !!!! OMG 😉

    When will Thai students realize that they live in a country that protects them?

    With their level of competence, most would be just small employees in any Western country, where it takes 2 masters or out of a business school to hope to get a management position.

    If there is a reform to be done in the Thai education system, it is surely not in terms of uniform or haircut.

    This is to say if their claims are totally beside the mark

  3. Avatar

    Denis

    Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    When will Thai students realize that they live in a country that protects them?

    With their level of competence, most would be just small employees in any Western country, where it takes 2 masters or out of a business school to hope to get a management position.

    If there is a reform to be done in the Thai education system, it is surely not in terms of uniform or haircut.

    This is to say if their claims are totally beside the mark

    • Avatar

      James

      Monday, November 16, 2020 at 1:09 am

      I hope there are a lot more types of graduates than those who just take the easy noddy business courses.

      What about doctors, engineers, chemists, software people who are needed?

      Anyone can be a so-called ‘manager’, it is the science and engineering graduates who create progress.

      I have read some of the demands the students are making, the high level of English used is much better than many native English speakers, many of these students will go far in life.

      I mention English as it is the international language for business and communications.

  4. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Good to see the the king and queen using public transport like most other people do every day.

    Far cheaper and more eco friendly than sitting in a tax payer funded roller stuck in a traffic jam.

    They are both truly inspirational leaders.

    Long live the king,queen,consort and all the floozy’s stuck in a hotel back home in deutschland.

    • Avatar

      7.62mm of darwin

      Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      I would be surprised if there were any other people than what you can see on the whole train so its not a matter of economy but security, and you can bet the whole platform would be empty when they arrived. The Thai royals seem to be under constant threat from their subjects.

  5. Avatar

    AI

    Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Actually by calling themselves “Bad Students” was a grand idea. Bet that wasn’t made up by the Ministry of Truth! (Fanx Georgie!)

    Go forward young people, as it’s your future also and not that of a poo faced bunch of bloated in body, ego and mind (not forgetting bank accounts off-shore) 😉

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