Banging empty plastic bottles to the beat of Queen's "We Will Rock You", protesters gathered at the BTS Skywalk in the Ratchaprasong area of Bangkok and marched around the iconic Central World department store to demonstrate against the election delay.
At 17.15 on the BTS Skywalk, one man came into the middle of the protest to say he was "bored with elections," causing a little chaos in the area. However, the tense situation dissolved in no time as protesters organized to avoid commotion.
At the start of the march, Sirawith Serithiwat said that the movement is now growing in every region of Thailand as there have been demonstrations in various provinces, including Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai tomorrow and Pattaya on 12th January.
"The election can fit in with the Coronation," said Anon Kampa as the demonstration marched from the Ratchaprasong Skywalk to Central World. "I think it is just an excuse of the NCPO to delay it."
Prachatai had the chance to talk to Asst Prof Pandit Chanrochanakit of the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, who was observing the protest. "This is the second protest in Bangkok after the NCPO revoked the legal measures to supress people's freedom of expression. And now we see a lot of unfamiliar faces in the demonstration," he told Prachatai English. "What we have to see is what the NCPO will do after this."
The police who were present made sure that the general public could walk in the area unhindered, with the full and willing cooperation of the protesters .
The well-known Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal told Prachatai that the demonstration was getting better feedback than expected. However, what the movement needs to do now is to throw possible scenarios on the table and prepare for the next step no matter how the NCPO responds.
Nattha Mahatthana told the demonstrators that she believed the delay has nothing to do with the coronation or the monarchy, but is about the NCPO looking for excuses to stay in power. She said that if the election is held after 11 March, the Election Commission would not be able to announce the results by 9 May. Her concern is that if anyone were to file a complaint with the Constitutional Court, and the Court decided that the Commission had failed to organize the election within 150 days as dictated by the constitution, the election results may be invalidated. In that case, the NCPO would no longer be under any legal obligation to hold an election and could continue to stay in power.
The protest dissolved at 19.12.