Countrywide protests give 24 hrs to release protesters, withdraw emergency decree

On 19 October, more protests took place at many sites in Bangkok and other provinces. It is the fifth day in a row and the organizers have called for a break of 24 hours to wait and see the government response.

The protest at Kasetsart intersection.

The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), one of protest organizers, stated at 18.00 on Monday that, within 24 hours, those protesters who have been arrested must be released with no further additional charges and the emergency decree must be withdrawn. 

It also underlines the original 3 demands: Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and the cabinet must resign, parliament must be re-opened to amend the constitution and the monarchy must be urgently reformed.

“If the state does not comply, then prepare to handle a surprise from us,” says the UFTD post.

In the greater Bangkok area, people gathered at the Ministry of Health MRT station in Nonthaburi Province, Bangkok Remand Prison and Kasetsart intersection. According to the Free YOUTH movement, there were also protests at Nakhon Pathom, Buriram, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi and Ubon Ratchathani.

The pro-monarchy protesters at Hat Yai.

Hat Yai, Songkhla Province, also saw a protest. There were people wearing yellow shirts, displaying banners in support of the monarchy in the area as well.

From 16.00 to 18.00 in Buriram, a flash mob took place at Buriram Rajabhat University. Protesters sang the national anthem while flashing the three-finger salute before dispersing.

The Kasetsart protest ended by itself at 19.00 after many thousands occupied the usually congested intersection.

At around 17.20, a protester at a Nonthaburi protest gave a speech admiring the Hong Kong protesters who rallied in support of the movement in Thailand and called for release of the protesters arrested in front of Thai consulate in Hong Kong on Monday.

She criticized the Xi Jinping administration for trying to suppress people in China and the region like the Uyghur, Hongkongers, Tibetans or the Mekong subregion people that are suffering from dam construction.

There are 3 conditions worthy of note relating to politics and the protests.

1. Some arrested protesters have still not been released. Some are remanded at the Bangkok Remand Prison. More are detained at Thanyaburi Prison, Pathum Thani, and Chiang Mai Prison. Despite some being released on bail on the evening of 19 Oct, some were immediately charged again.

At 11.30 on 19 Oct, it was reported by TLHR that Patipan Luecha, a mo lam singer, was arrested at his home and taken to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 headquarters, Pathum Thani, and charged with sedition, gathering in a group of more than 10 people to cause public unrest and using unauthorized voice amplifiers.

2. Chuan Leekpai, Speaker of the House of Representatives, consulted with a cabinet representative and called a special session of parliament on 26-27 Oct to solve the ongoing conflict, in line with Section 165 of the 2017 Thai constitution, enabling the session to be held without a vote or resolution.

Protesters have been calling for a special session to discuss constitutional amendments.

3. The severe emergency decree has been used to censor the coverage of the protests by The Standard, The Reporters, Voice TV, Prachatai and Free YOUTH. This quickly put #Saveสื่อเสรี (#Savefreemedia) at the twitter top trend today.

As of 20 Oct, all platforms of Voice TV have been ordered shut down under a court order filed by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES). Cases against the other media outlets will proceed later.

As of 21 Oct, the court has ruled out the shut down order on the 4 media.