Thais express support for the pro-democracy movement at King Rama IX’s birthplace

Thai people in Boston gathered at Bhumibol Square, a landmark honouring the birthplace of the late King Rama IX in the United States. They expressed support for the 3 demands for political and monarchy reform and also condemned the state use of violence against protesters.

The group takes a photo with a yellow rubber duck along with their placards.

The event was held on 23 November at 10.00 EST. Around 15 Thais gathered to stage the symbolic action with banners and placards. They also exchanged views about past state violence against the people such as the 2010 crackdown and the 6 October 1976 massacre.

They also questioned about the way monarchy is being exploited for gain while those who scrutinize the situation are suppressed.

The group also brought along a yellow rubber duck, a pool toy that was used as a shield to protect the protesters against the police water cannon during the 17 November protest around Parliament, which later gained a mock honorific title by the protesters for its sacrifice.

The participants prostrate themselves before a person sitting on the rubber duck, mocking the Thai obeisance toward the monarchy.

Messages displayed at the Boston protest also mentioned how participants were threatened in the past week by an official from the King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF), a non-profit corporation and public charity aiming “to preserve Thai history where King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family had lived in Massachusetts from 1916-1928”.

A pro-monarchy person wearing a yellow shirt was seen trying to prevent the group from taking photos at the square. The group avoided the confrontation and took photos nevertheless. The person, however, observed the event until it ended at 12.30.

According to the KTBF, the organization was incorporated in 1998 to preserve Thai history and culture. It also aims to improve the square to be worthy of His Majesty the late King. In 2003, the Foundation installed a King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Birthplace monument at the intersection of Eliot and Bennett streets at Harvard Square in Cambridge.

The late King Rama IX was born on 5 December 1927, at Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts.