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Protests

Pro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | The Thaiger
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Despite Bangkok’s State of Emergency banning public gatherings of more than 5 people, pro-democracy protesters continue to rally throughout the city every evening and are determined to do so until their demands are met. The movement, calling on the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, an end to Thailand’s military-run government and rewrite of the 2017 Charter, has spread to other provinces across Thailand as well.

Last night, protesters gathered by the thousands at Victory Monument and the Asok-Sukhumvit intersection next to Terminal 21. Hundreds gathered at by the Imperial World Samrong shopping centre and marched to the Bang Na intersection as well. MRT and BTS stations by protest sites were closed in response to the protests.

At the Asok protest, signs were placed by protesters on the BTS station’s gates closing off the transit system, many criticising the Thailand’s government and Monarchy. A sign in English said “WE WANT DEMOCRACY”. Signs listing the protester’s 3 demands were also placed around the protest site. They kept reiterating that they want the PM to resign, a rewrite of the Thai constitution, and government reform.

Some activists acknowledge the risk of arrest for violating the emergency decree and potentially violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté laws which prohibits insults or criticisms of the Thai Monarchy. A student activist told The Thaiger “We are not scared.”

“It’s our right,” she said, adding that Thailand should have freedom of speech.

The State of Emergency was imposed early Thursday morning which led to the break up of a protest outside the Government House, and leading to the arrests of more than 20 people. The day before, protesters had first gathered at Democracy Monument and marched to the Government House to set up “camp” for a few days to put pressure on the Thai PM to resign.

Wednesday’s protest route happened to be the same day and the same route as a royal motorcade, causing complications and a clashes, albeit mostly vocal, between royal supporters and the thousands of assemble protesters. 2 pro-democracy activists were later arrested and could face life in prison for alleged “intention to harm the HM the Queen’s liberty”. Some protesters were seen holding their hands up in the 3-finger salute as the royal motorcade passed by. The salute, taken from the movie the Hunger Games, is a symbol of resistance.

Protesters continued to hold rallies despite the government order. On Friday night, the police broke up the crowd using high pressure water cannons at the Pathumwan intersection in the downtown shopping district (next to the MBK Mega Mall). Some claim that the blue-dyed liquid sprayed at the crowd may have been laced with a chemical like tear gas. Police denied the assertion.

Protesters are now coming prepared. An activist told The Thaiger that they want a peaceful demonstration without violence, but some standing in a line in front of the crowd came prepared with helmets and goggles. Some even had gas masks. The flimsy umbrellas they’re using has also become more of a symbol of resistance rather than being of any use against the police riot squads.

Many activists leaders have been arrested and some activists have “gone missing” over the past 4 days of protests. A student activist says some young people, just 17 years old, have been arrested at pro-democracy protests. The activists are calling on the police to release them and to inform the whereabouts of all protesters.

“We are so angry … People are still missing and we are worried about them.”

Protesters are now trying a new tactic. No organised leaders, claiming that their collective organisational capacities are working well. They’re also announcing the location of protests sites in the afternoon, just before the timing of the rallies, so police don’t have time to set up or prepare for a specific location. An activist also said that gathering at intersections, causing a traffic jam, makes it difficult for large police vehicles to reach them. While they intentionally block traffic, the protesters have been seen quickly moving out of the way for ambulances or official government vehicles to pass through.

Other cities

Reports say around 20 locations outside of Bangkok, held pro-democracy protests including the central provinces outside of the city in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani. Large groups were also seen in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and Surat Thani.

Sunday’s protest at the Asoke-Sukhumvit intersection

Pro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The ThaigerPro-democracy protests grow across Thailand, plans to continue | News by The Thaiger

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Tony Grace

    October 19, 2020 at 11:31 am

    This guy’s time is almost up history tells us that when he becomes an embarrassment to the masters above him . They will say what ,
    is the old mafia saying,.Nothing personal old friend its strictly business. Hes6 got to go.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 19, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      What “masters above him” are you referring to?

      He’s not exactly the only one being targeted …

      • Avatar

        Tony Grace

        October 19, 2020 at 2:58 pm

        The one’s that fill the brown envelopes Who keep him and his associates in power so as to keep there welth and property away from public scrutiny
        Without having justify how they ach9 such wealth.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Protests

More protest rallies today and tomorrow around Bangkok

The Thaiger

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More protest rallies today and tomorrow around Bangkok | The Thaiger

If you think the current spate of rallies are ruling out of steam, think again. Yesterday’s large protest around the Lat Phrao intersection on Phahon Yothin Road was just the first of 3 days of planned protests around Bangkok and Samut Prakan. Protesters yesterday described their action as an “anti-coup drill”, claiming that the coup “chatter” continued and that they would strenuously protest against another Army-led action against Thai citizens.

The yellow ducks and a few other inflatable animals were again taking front stage in a rally that was described more like a picnic than a political demonstration.

Today’s rally will start at the Imperial World Samrong shopping centre, south of central Bangkok, and march to Bang Na intersection.

Then tomorrow protesters plan to hold another rally in front of the . Imperial World Samrong shopping centre.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police says there will be up to 500 crowd control police attending to each of the protests, adding that the rallies had been given formal permission to go ahead and police will be ensuring that no laws are broken.

The government has come under a barrage of criticism from NGOs and rights groups about some of the heavy-handed responses and baiting at rallies to “create” the appearance of conflict. Yesterday the Foreign Ministry issued a statement via their spokesperson, Tanee Sangrat in response to the criticism.

13 international organisations – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Asia Democracy Network, and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development – have made official submissions about the response from police and handling of the rival protest groups, which resulted in the shooting of 6 people and other protesters injured by the high power water cannons and tear gas deployed by riot police..

The Ministry spokesman maintained that Thailand had “upheld the rule of law and respected the judicial process with transparency. In handling recent protests, the authorities have enforced the law in line with international standards, with the appropriate response to the situation.”

The spokesperson said that participants in the November 17 outside the Thai Parliament broke through concrete barricades and tried to reach an “off-limits area”, forcing police to take action to bring the situation under control. Protesters told police that they wanted to get to the front of the parliament buildings to protest the debates that were being conducted inside.

“The operation was proportional to the situation and was not excessive. Those who want to exercise their right to assemble must follow the law and consider the safety of others.”

Organisers of yesterday afternoon’s rally, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, called the rally “an anti-coup drill”.

“Undeniably, speculation about a coup has been rife. It should not happen. But history teaches us that we cannot trust. Therefore, all are welcome for a drill to cope with another possible coup”.

Current Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, as head of the Thai Army before the May 2014 coup, maintained that the army would not intervene and oust the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

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Protests

Shooter from Bangkok SCB protest surrenders to police

Maya Taylor

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Shooter from Bangkok SCB protest surrenders to police | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Free Youth Movement

A man accused of shooting at anti-government protesters at a rally in Bangkok on Wednesday has admitted the charge and surrendered to police. Peerawut Kunamonkan delivered his 25 year old son, Passapong, to police at Phaholyothin station in the capital yesterday. He faces charges of attempted murder, shooting in public, and illegally carrying a gun and ammunition.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Passapong is accused of shooting 20 year old Prachakorn Saksritao, a former student of Pathumthani Technical College, but claims he did it for personal, not political, reasons. It’s understood Prachakorn was at the rally as a member of the protesters’ security team. The shooting took place as activists were dispersing at the end of a rally at the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank.

The accused, a former student at Min Buri Polytechnic Technology College in Bangkok, says he was reacting to sarcastic social media posts from Prachakorn. The posts were made after Passapong and the group he was with voiced their disapproval of activists insulting the Monarchy. Passapong is taking full responsibility for the shooting, saying nobody paid him to do it and that he will pay for the victim’s medical treatment.

Following speculation on social media that the shooting was carried out by a yellow-shirt royalist, Thanadech Srisongkram, from the Minburi vocational student guards, has denied the claims. He says the shooting had nothing to do with the protests or the Monarchy, adding that his group is not affiliated with any particular political group. He says he has apologised to the security detail from Pathumthani Technical College, promising that such an incident will not happen again.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Thousands gather in Bangkok for “anti-coup” protest picnic

Maya Taylor

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Thousands gather in Bangkok for “anti-coup” protest picnic | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Around 5,000 pro-democracy activists gathered at the Lat Phrao intersection in the Chatuchak district of Bangkok last night, to oppose any potential coup, a situation continually denied by the current PM. Last night’s gathering took the form of a picnic, at which mainly north-eastern dishes were served. Protesters described it as a rehearsal against military intervention, with one 18 year old activist, named only as Tan, saying history cannot be allowed to repeat itself.

“I’m only 18 but have seen 2 coups already. That’s not right. We don’t want history to repeat itself.”

The rally was announced on Facebook by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, who say the Thai people have had enough of coups that oust elected governments. They described the event as “a drill against a coup d’etat”.

“There have been too many coups in the past, so history has taught us to remain vigilant. Therefore, we would like to invite everyone to participate in a drill to prepare for another coup that could happen.”

Army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae has previously dismissed rumours of an impending coup, but the Ratsadon (People’s Movement) group have voiced their distrust of the current military regime, saying history would indicate otherwise. Protest leader Panupong Jadnok, aka, “Mike”, says the gathering last night is a powerful illustration of people’s opposition to a coup.

According to a Nation Thailand report, there have been at least 12 successful coups in Thailand, an average of 1 every 7 years, since the country moved from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy following the Siamese Revolution of 1932. The last military coup was in May 2014, which brought former army general Prayut Chan-o-cha to power, where he has remained ever since.

One woman at last night’s rally, a 32 year old named Natalie, says the 2014 coup has proved a disaster for the country and it’s time for urgent change.

“Now is a crisis time in Bangkok and Thailand. I want new elections and to change the prime minister and for a new government to actually listen to the people.”

Last night, the yellow ducks were out again, this time being used to represent the army. Protesters passed the ducks over their heads, to symbolise the military moving over the people to take a front row seat on the political stage. Activists flashed the 3-fingered salute at the rubber ducks, a gesture originally derived from The Hunger Games, that has become a powerful anti-establishment symbol. Activists also burned pictures of former coup leaders, including the current PM.

Last night’s gathering follows another one in the capital on Wednesday, when thousands rallied outside the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank. The Bangkok Post reports that another protest is planned for today, in front of the Imperial World Samrong shopping mall in Samut Prakan, just outside Bangkok, and a further one tomorrow, at the Imperial Lat Phrao mall.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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