Speakers on the stage referred to a ‘People’s Liberation Council’ and vowed not to surrender activists to police who are reportedly the subject of arrest warrants. A key speaker, Arnon Nampa, who is currently on bail and has attended all political rallies this week, despite a condition of his bail set by the court that he does not engage in the type of activity that led him to come before it in the first place, on a charge of sedition in addition to other offences.
Sunday’s student protest in the centre of Bangkok drew a crowd of well over 12,000 people with organisers claiming 20,000 turned up to call for the Thai government to heed demands for political change and reform. The gathering also heard calls for the ministry to stand down and for a national unity government to be formed.
A protest at Democracy Monument in Bangkok again led by the Free Youth student movement and supported by another group called Free People, has generated the largest turnout so far since the easing of Covid 19 virus restrictions.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Bureau, at around 7 pm on Sunday, estimated that there were as many as 12,000 people at the event which was confronted peacefully earlier in the afternoon by a few dozen royalists supporters led by students from a vocational college who vowed to monitor the event and to record any comments that may be offensive to the royal institution.
Protest was a peaceful and friendly one
The protest was a peaceful one with the organisers themselves claiming the crowd was over 20,000 strong. The atmosphere was positive and friendly.
Police dispatched to guard the event called in reinforcements which had been on standby to preserve security at the event and safety of the protestors including a ban on all incoming traffic.
Protest leader Arnon Nampa referred to a ‘People’s Liberation Council’ and vowed not to surrender those sought by police reportedly on warrants
On the stage itself, the protest leader, civil rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, called people, reportedly named in police warrants, onto the stage and vowed that they would not surrender to authorities.
The protest leader announced the ‘People’s Liberation Council’ as they called on the government to heed the three demands presented on July 18th last.
Mr Arnon is currently on bail and was warned by a court last week not to engage in behaviour linked with the charges brought against him including sedition and inciting unrest.
Calls of a government of national unity
Speeches called on the government to stand down for a government of national unity. The protestors were also calling for constitutional reform and an end to harassment of political activists.
A political science expert at Chulalongkorn University, Trakul Meechai, told the broadcaster Thai PBS that Sunday’s event should urgently lead to talks between the government, parliament and the protest leaders. At least before September, which was the deadline put by those who addressed the crowd.
Rally wound down with a statement
The rally wound down at about 10 pm but not before the protest leaders read a statement to the crowd which said: ‘Free People is now not limited only to students, but also includes people from different aspects of society, ranging from artists and labourers to people from all walks of life.’