Following the Constitutional Court ruling last Friday (30 September) to allow Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to stay on as Prime Minister, protests took place during the weekend.
Protesters flashing the three-finger salute during Saturday's protest
On Friday (30 September), the Constitutional Court ruled that Gen Prayut will be allowed to continue in office despite the 8-year term limit imposed by the 2017 Constitution, since his term should be counted as beginning from the date the Constitution came into effect.
On Saturday (1 October), a protest took place at the Victory Monument organized by several activist groups, including Thalufah, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), the Labour Network for People’s Right, and We Volunteer. Activists took turn giving speeches and reading poems. Several bands also performed.
Several protesters were seen wearing black, after activists called for the public to wear black for a week as a gesture of protest against the Court’s ruling.
Amnesty International Thailand also set up a table at the protest with a large piece of paper for protesters to leave messages to detained activists.
Activists flashing the three-finger salute after reading their statement at the end of the protest
At the end of the protest, several activists read out a statement calling for people to vote in the next general election, which is supposed to take place in 2023, to show that they do not support the current government, and to make sure that the election is transparent and fair.
The statement also says that the Constitutional Court’s ruling did not come as a surprise, since 5 of the Constitutional Court judges were appointed by the Senate and 2 were appointed by the National Legislative Assembly, both of which were chosen by the NCPO government. It also criticized the Court for affirming Gen Prayut’s stay in office, even though the Court’s function is to limit executive powers.
Sunday's flashmob involved putting stickers “#ไล่ประยุทธ์” (#PrayutOut) onto a wall in the Siam shopping district. (Photo by Ginger Cat)
On Sunday (2 October), activist Sombat Boonngamanong staged a flashmob-style protest in the Siam shopping district. Called “Black Sunday,” the event involved protesters placing stickers saying “#ไล่ประยุทธ์” (#PrayutOut) onto the metal sheeting around the area where the Scala Cinema used to be.
Sombat said that he will be organizing an event every Sunday and asked participants to wear black to each event. He noted that the activity will change each week, but participants will not block the streets and will stay on the footpath to avoid charges, after Thailand’s complainer-in-chief Srisuwan Janya said he will file a complaint against anyone who protests against the Constitutional Court’s ruling.
He told reporters that he disagreed with the Constitutional Court’s ruling, because it was not in line with the facts, and said that Gen Prayut should show his integrity by resigning. If he doesn’t, he would be remembered as a privileged person who has been allowed to stay in office as Prime Minister beyond the legal term limit.
Meanwhile, a group of Red Shirts gathered at the Democracy Monument to protest the Constitutional Court’s ruling. They said that they will be meeting every Sunday until Gen Prayut resigns, and that their activity will be mostly speeches and the protesters will not be marching anywhere.
Former Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan and lawyer Nitithorn Lamlua, leaders of the People’s Coalition, a gathering of conservative yellow shirts and some red shirts, in a protest, have also announced that they will be holding events every day, and that they will be staging a major protest on 16 October.