Pro-democracy groups vow to intensify rallies in 2021, aim for 2 million protesters a day

PHOTO: ราษฎร / Facebook

Pro-democracy activists have pledged to continue and increase their protest action this year, aiming for 2 million protesters a day. The Bangkok Post reports that protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka “Rung”, confirmed the intention yesterday, a day after 4 fellow activists were denied bail by the Criminal Court in Bangkok. Around 1,000 protesters gathered at the Pathumwan intersection in the capital calling for the release of Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Patiwat Saraiyaem, and Somyot Prueksakasemsuk.

They also reiterated the 3 key demands they’ve been pushing for since anti-government protests began in July 2020: the resignation of the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, a re-write of the Constitution, and reform of the Monarchy.

Protesters booed police officers and beat pots and pans, in a nod to a Burmese belief that banging pots will dispel evil spirits. Prominent pro-democracy activist Panupong Jadnok said the pots were empty to reflect the fact that many people are now so poor they can’t afford rice. The protest started at 4pm, with participants marching to Pathumwan police station at around 7.30pm to demand the release of the 4 detained activists. Around an hour later, 3 loud bangs were heard behind the police station, but there were no reports of injuries.

There were 10 arrests, including 2 minors who were released on bail of 5,000 baht each. A teargas cannister was also recovered at the scene. Protesters dispersed around 9pm.

Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen says 5 companies of officers were on site to oversee the protest, with water cannons on standby in the event that things escalated. He also pointed out that such gatherings remain illegal during the Emergency Decree.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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