Police attempt to prevent commemoration of 1973 student uprising

Thai police officers have attempted to discourage people from commemorating the 14 October 1973 student uprising, citing the Public Assembly Act.

On Wednesday evening, 14 October 2015, at least 300 people gathered around the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in central Bangkok to participate in the 42nd anniversary of the 14 October 1973 student uprising, when 50,000 students took to the streets to call for an end to the dictatorial regime of Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn.

Members of leading anti-junta activist groups, such as New Democracy Movement, Dao Din, and Resistant Citizens, were among the participants.

Before the event started, police officers at around 6:20 pm informed the crowd as they were marching to the Democracy Monument that they might be charged under the 2015 Public Assembly Act.

Through negotiation with the pro-democracy activists, however, the police permitted the group to continue with the march, but they had to walk on the footpath instead of marching on the roadway.

At 6:50 pm, as the pro-democracy crowd arrived at the Democracy Monument, they attempted to wrap a banner with the message “At present, how [can you] forget the ideology and serve a dictatorship” around the monument, but were prevented by the police.

At around 7:35 pm, the crowd gathered around the monument and lit candles in honour of those who participated in the 1973 uprising and shouted “NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] get out” and “Democracy will triumph”.

Sirawit Serithiwat (in white shirt), an embattled anti-junta activist from Resistant Citizens Group, negotiating with the police officers (photo courtesy of New Democracy Movement)

People participating in the 42nd Anniversary of the 14 October 1973 student uprising hold a banner in front of the Democracy Monument reading “At present, how [can you] forget the ideology and serve a dictatorship”