Student Union stages rally to commemorate 1932 revolution

The Student Union of Thailand (SUT) staged a rally yesterday evening (24 June) on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of the 1932 Siamese Revolution with a reenactment of the declaration of the 1st People’s Party announcement, which was read at dawn on this day in 1932 to mark the end of the absolute monarchy in the country now known as Thailand.

Uniformed police officers setting up railings in front of MBK Center before the start of the rally. 

The rally was held at 18.00 on the Pathumwan Skywalk, in front of MBK Centre. Uniformed police officers were on the scene before the rally started, and made an announcement through a loudspeaker at around 17.30 that the Emergency Decree is still in effect and that everyone must keep a distance from each other. The police also ordered reporters who were waiting to report on the rally to stay in a designated area and apart from the protestors, because “the demonstrators might violate the law, and if you are mixed in with them, we might not be able to tell who is who.”

A police officer making an announcement ordering reporters to stay behind the railings and separate from the protestors.

The police also told former MP Dr Tossapon Serirak, who was attending the rally, that participants must keep a social distance from each other, and that any action that is a Covid-19 infection risk is a violation of the Emergency Decree. Dr Tossapon asked the police officer making the announcement repeatedly what they can and cannot do, but the officer did not directly answer his questions other than telling him that an assembly is not allowed under the Emergency Decree.

Dr Tossapon Serirak (blue shirt) speaking to a police officer about the limits of the Emergency Decree on assemblies.

Representatives from the SUT, including SUT spokesperson Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and activist Parit Chiwarak, arrived close to 18.00, with a vinyl backdrop and models of the still-missing People’s Party plaque and the symbol of the constitution. They then read out the 1st People’s Party announcement, a declaration which was made at dawn on 24 June 1932, marking the end of the absolute monarchy in Siam and the regime change to democracy.

Before the reading, they also played through a speaker the Thai version of the Italian anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao,” with lyrics by the dissident band Faiyen.

Representatives of the SUT in front of their vinyl backdrop

Parit Chiwarak (right), Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul (centre), and another SUT member after the reading

The models of the People's Party Plaque and the constitution symbol the SUT brought to the rally

Members of the organizing team carrying the constitution symbol model after the rally

After the conclusion of the demonstration, Parit went live on his Facebook page while in a car with the rest of the group and said that they were being followed by plainclothes officers driving several cars and motorcycles. He posted on his Facebook an hour after the live video that they were now safe.

The SUT’s demonstration was one of the over fifteen demonstrations and other events which were held across the country to mark the 88th anniversary of the revolution on 24 June.