The wave of youth-led protests continued with four more protests on Thursday (23 July) in Pattani, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Khon Kaen, showing support for other protestors across the country.
Student protest at the Prince of Songkla University's Pattani campus
Students at the Prince of Songkla University’s Pattani campus gathered for a demonstration on Thursday (23 July) evening in front of the university’s student affairs building, calling for the dissolution of parliament, an end of the authorities’ harassment of people, and a new constitution, the three demands made by Free Youth Movement at the mass protest on 18 July which are now echoed by protestors across the country.
Participants were also seen with protest signs containing pro-democracy messages, as well as signs calling for justice for victims of enforced disappearance.
A banner seen at the protest at the Prince of Songkla University
Niwat Keawpradub, President of Prince of Songkhla University, previously declared that students were not allowed to use university facilities on all of its five campuses for protests. His published letter refers to concern of the risk of Covid-19 contagion and the Emergency Decree. However, the students decided to hold the demonstration anyway, declaring that it is now both an anti-government and an anti-university president protest.
A sign held by one of the protestors in Ayutthaya (Source: iLaw)
Meanwhile, in Ayutthaya, students and citizens gathered at the Bueng Phraram Park. A protestor gave a speech saying that the Emergency Decree is being used not to control disease but to stifle free speech.
The organisers provided students with masking tape to cover the names on their school uniforms and insisted that the protest is within legal boundaries.
The protest in Ayutthaya (Source: iLaw)
Officials were seen around the protest area, taking photographs and videos of the protest. A drone was also seen flying above the protest, but it was unclear who the drone belongs to.
The demonstration opposite Future Park Rangsit shopping mall
Protestors at the Pathum Thani event flashing the three-finger 'Hunger Games' salute
In Pathum Thani, a coalition of students from Bangkok University, Rangsit University, and the Rajamangala University of Technology organized a demonstration of around 400 – 500 people at the van parking point opposite the Future Park Rangsit shopping mall.
A protest sign held by some protestors at the pathum Thani event
Uniformed police officers seen around the protest area
During the demonstration, a group of men claiming to be police officers approached a student and asked to see a protest sign, which the student refused. A group of lawyers were also present, and approached the student to help talk to the officers.
The student said that they prepared a sign to use at the protest but realized that a group of men had taken a picture of them, so they also took a picture of the men. The student left the protest, but found that they were being followed. However, the student said that the men who claimed to be police officers were different from those who followed them.
The student was not charged and the officers later left the area.
The protest in Khon Kaen
In Khon Kaen, an anti-government demonstration took place at the Ratchadanusorn Park, also demanding the dissolution of parliament, an end to the authorities’ harassment of people, and a new constitution. The demonstration was joined by both students and citizens, some of whom took turn giving speeches.
iLaw reported that an official, whose affiliation in unknown, attempted to arrest a protestor, but the protest’s security volunteers took control of the situation and asked the officials to leave the area. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) also said that there were at least 30 uniformed police officers around the area and around the same number of plainclothes officers. There were also 4 fire engines, 3 rescue vehicles, and at least 20 rescue personnel.
Police officers also reportedly asked the driver of the songtaew minibus that took students from the Khon Kaen University to the protest area about the student who was facilitating transportation. The driver allegedly gave the officers the student’s number.
- Youth-led rally against the government in Chonburi
- Despite resistance from universities, student protests go on
- More students join wave of anti-government protests
- People protest in front of the Army HQ after ex-spokesperson belittles democracy movement
- Student protests in Ubon Ratchathani and Chiang Mai echo Free Youth’s demands
Anti-government protests are springing up across the country following the mass protest at the Democracy Monument on 18 July, which was the largest protest since the government declared a State of Emergency in March. 10 other protests have already taken place this week, with at least 23 more planned in the next 10 days.