Apologies, demands made at first anti-dictatorship overnight protest

A “Sleep in a camp, not in a jail” protest organized by the “We are Friends” group was held at the 14 October Memorial on 27-28 August. The group underlined the Free People demands for political and monarchy reform.

The protesters read the declaration while raising 3 fingers, a symbolic gesture of resistance from the Hunger Game

At around 15.00, people began to gather at the monument, built to honour the people's triumph against the dictatorship regime in 1971. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, one of the organizers, planned to go to Samranrat Police Station on the morning of 28 August to hear the charges related to his participation in the 18 July protest.

There were many speeches and music performances. Two interesting apologies were made for belittling the youth and pro-democracy movement.

First, Phussadee Ngamkham, known as the “Last Red Shirt” who remained at the Ratchaprasong stage after the 19 May 2010 crackdown, apologized for her belittling remark that the new generation was politically ignorant.

“If we have strength, are still alive and still speak out, do not abandon the children because they are the ones who will take our hope to its goal,” said Phussadee.

Kanniti Limcharoen from the Free People Movement confessed that he used to be “salim”, the name of a multi-coloured Thai dessert which is used to refer to people who are either politically ignorant or pro-coup d’état. He once even agreed with the crackdown in the capital until he learned history outside of the textbook that changed his mind.

Kanniti underlined the 3 demands of the Free People Movement: dissolution of parliament, a new constitution and an end to the authorities’ harassment of people; its 2 standpoints: no coup d’état and no national coalition government; and its 1 dream: a truly constitutional monarchy in which the monarchy is bound under the constitution.

He said that all of them would be achieved by drafting a new constitution that is legitimate and comes from the people. Thailand needs good law that can regulate the different kinds of people who take political positions instead of looking only for good people to govern the country as has been previously thought.

He urged the opposition parties to discuss the amendment of the constitution with each other thoroughly, as people have already agreed to disband the senate before drafting a new constitution. These demands have to be delivered within this parliamentary session.

Kanniti’s plea referred to the recent conflict between the Pheu Thai Party and Move Forward Party about to the scope of the constitutional amendments to be submitted to parliament. 

Pheu Thai proposed only the establishment of a drafting committee while Move Forward also proposed amendments to Sections 269-272 in the transitional provisions which empower the senate to take part in many parliamentary votes including the election of the prime minister.

The 250 senators were appointed by a committee which was itself appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order, the junta administration. It has now become the target of criticism from political parties and public opinion for its lack of public legitimacy.

Then, the Citizens’ Declaration at the 14 October Memorial, Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue was read out. It emphasizes the economic and political crisis and harassment of the people at the hands of the dictatorial government.

The declaration has 5 demands:

  1. Stop threats and prosecutions of the people Immediately.
  2. The senators appointed by the junta must resign or be stripped of their power by the end of September.
  3. Establish a constitutional drafting committee, with all members elected, to draft a new constitution to replace the junta’s constitution.
  4. Dissolve parliament to return power to the people.
  5. Reform the monarchy to put it under the power of the people.

The protesters chanted “Feudalism shall fall, long live the people” after the declaration was read out.

Source: 
https://prachatai.com/journal/2020/08/89246