Student movement organizes Car Mob demanding political and monarchy reform

People gathered on foot and in vehicles to participate in a Car Mob organized by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) on Tuesday 10 August, underlining the demands on reforms and resignation of Gen Prayut and his cronies.

A protester raises a placard as the march was forming.

At the Ratchaprasong intersection, the protest rally point, many placards and banners could be seen demanding better vaccine distribution with a focus on giving mRNA vaccines to frontline medical staff.

Hundreds of crowd control police were reported in a nearby shopping mall parking lot. The police also deployed officers at the nearby National Police Headquarters. Some leading protest figures, including Parit Chiwarak, turned themselves in after receiving arrest warrants.

The police declared that gathering for a Car Mob violates the Emergency Decree that prohibits public gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On this day in 2020, the UFTD held a protest at Thammasat University where they made the ground-breaking statement addressing monarchy reform, communicating to the public their 10 demands to democratize the institution of the monarchy. 

[Full statement] The demonstration at Thammasat proposes monarchy reform

“Really suffering. My income is going down, actually going down to nothing. Sometimes, I work and only get enough money to eat. My income has gone down a lot,” said Sayam, a tuk-tuk driver with 30 years’ experience, who also joined the #ม็อบ10สิงหา protest to support the students’ movement. 

Sayam

During a pandemic like this, his main income comes from Thais taking short trips to the market instead of foreigners as it used to be when the country was vibrant.

Sayam said he has been a member of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), widely known as the red shirts movement, since 2007. He also participated in later student protests but prefers to stay with the red shirt groups.

“If possible, [I] want Prayut out. Have someone else come in please. They cannot administer, the country is going nowhere now. It’s only going down, nothing’s getting better.

“Prayut, listen to the people. You are an adult, so listen to the people … The people can’t take it any more,” said the tuk-tuk driver.

The protest moved to Sino-Thai Tower, which houses a construction company where Anutin Charnvirakul, the Public Health Minister, is the 4th biggest shareholder, a condominium claimed to belong to Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Phrompao, and the offices of King Power, a major duty-free company that the protesters claim allowed police to use their facilities on Tuesday.

The protesters held symbolic actions at each place. Graffiti were painted over the King Power sign.

The UFTD published a statement with their demands, stating that Covid-19 mismanagement has caused the people irreparable harm. The root cause of this is the 2014 coup led by Gen Prayut which led to a regime that has benefited only the elite. 

They demanded that the government properly handle the pandemic, revitalise the economy, repeal the 2017 Constitution which allows the junta government to prolong its stay in power, push forward reforms in state structures and the monarchy, and also return to the people their dignity.

The UFTD called off the protest at 17.00. However, protesters could be seen lingering at the Din Daeng intersection on the route  to Prayut’s house where a confrontation with the police took place during the 7th August protest. Some protesters were seen at the Victory Monument.

According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), at least 38 protesters have been arrested at the protests. Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai stated on 10 August that 28 protesters have been arrested, 100 motorcycles have been seized and 6 policemen have been injured.

Source: 
prachatai.com/journal/2021/08/94404

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