11 July 2024

Anti-government protesters have called for another rally in Bangkok this evening only hours after police broke up a demonstration that paralyzed the commercial center at Pathumwan intersection last night.

In a statement this morning, the so-called “Khana Ratsadorn” condemned the violent crackdown on the demonstration that saw protesters sprayed with high-pressure water jets and charged by crowd control police.

It said the violent dispersal of the crowd “demonstrates that the government andthe military have declared themselves enemy of the people.”

“We want to reaffirm that we will continue with a rally on October 17 even though the government might have arrested all of our key leaders,” it said, scheduling the rally for 4 pm but didn’t say where it will take place.

The statement also said that the Khana Ratsadorn group no longer exists. “There will be only Ratsadorn and everyone will be leader,” it said.

Khana Ratsadorn is the name adopted by political and student activists who have been behind a series of demonstrations against the Prayut government.  It’s named after a group of military and civilian figures who staged the 1932 revolution to end Thailand’s system of absolute monarchy.

The group has been highlighting the word “Ratsadorn” which means “people” as opposed to the ruling class and the establishment.

The crackdown last night was greeted with condemnations from various groups and circles which saw it as an excessive use of force against unarmed and peaceful demonstrators.

Student unions of eight leading universities last night issued a joint statement condemning the crackdown and called on the government  to use peaceful means to resolve the ongoing conflict.

However, police last night defended their action, insisting that the measures taken against the demonstrators were proportionate and necessary as they defied the state of emergency that bans public gathering of five people or more.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Tavichai, the deputy metropolitan chief, denied that tear-gas was used against the protesters.

Meanwhile, Joshua Wong, a leader of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and supporter of the Thai anti-government dissidents, last night offered morale support to Thai people in a tweet with a hashtag “StandWithThailand