The Thai military forced labour unionists to remove pro-election stickers and placards at a monthly rally.
Around six military officers on Saturday morning inspected cars which belong to Rangsit and Area Labour Union members at the rally in Pathum Thani Province, north of Bangkok, and ordered the union members to remove the A4 stickers which simply read ‘election’.
The stickers were attached on both sides of 15 cars of union members, who were on their way to participate in the monthly union rally and seminar. However, they had to remove the stickers before the rally started because of pressure from the military.
According to Sriprai Nonsee, the leader of Rangsit Area Labour Union, the placards were meant to show support for elections, which the junta leader himself has promised.
She added that the rally participants initially planned to attach another sticker reading ‘Down with martial law’. However, they decided not to out of concern that it might cause strife with the military.
Earlier, on Friday night, the military contacted one of the group members and ordered that the ‘election’ stickers were not permitted and asked about the details of the rally, said union members.
They added that after they removed the signs and started the rally on Saturday morning, the military briefly followed them until they passed the border of Pathum Thani Province.
In early February, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, said during his official visit to Japan that under the current political roadmap, Thailand is expected to have an election at the beginning of 2016.
Photos by Sriprai Nonsee, a leading member of the Rangsit and Area Labour Union Group