Huge anti-Junta demonstrations in Bangkok
by Giles Ji Ungpakorn
The protest at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on 16th August was a great success with crowds of up to 50,000 people coming to show their anger at the continued parliamentary dictatorship of Generalissimo Prayut and the behaviour of king Wachiralongkorn.
The protest was organised by the organisation “Free People”. It has 3 major demands: stop intimidating activists, re-write the constitution and dissolve parliament. People are fed up with the fixed elections, the appointed senators and the military designed “Guided Democracy” system in general.
In addition to these demands, student activists and the lawyer Anon Numpa are now openly demanding the reform of the monarchy. People are angry about laws which prevent the monarchy being subjected to criticism and accountability. They are angry that he spends his time with his harem in Germany and changes to the constitution that allow him to do this more easily. They are angry that he changed the constitution to bring all wealth associated with the monarchy under his centralised control. They want to curtail his privileges and power.
For the first time since the military and the Democrat Party murdered pro-democracy Red Shirts in cold blood in 2010, Red Shirt activists and older people joined the students in protesting. The Red Shirts had been specifically invited to come along at a student rally a few days earlier at Chulalongkorn University.
The movement needs to keep up the momentum and spread to all sections of the population, especially organised workers. Progressive trade unionists were on the protest, but organised workers need to come out it their thousands and be prepared to take strike action if necessary.
Many activist leaders face prosecution and the movement must insist that all charges are dropped immediately.
For background to this protest see https://bit.ly/2Ed22ug
On the Monday after this huge protest, secondary school students at hundreds of schools up and down the country defied teachers, in order to stage “3 finger” protests against the dictatorship during the compulsory singing of the national anthem and flag raising before classes.
See video: https://youtu.be/gUiZOPZlWdM
On Wednesday 19th, hundreds of school students demonstrated outside the education ministry after the minister had threatened them. He made an attempt to address the crowd of students but was prevented from doing so by shouts of “lackey of the dictatorship!” and loud whistle blowing. This particular minister was part of a reactionary whistle-blowing mob who helped the present junta come to power.
This article first appeared on the Uglytruth-Thailand Website. Reproduced with the author's permission.