Organizers of “Run against Dictatorship” warned of legal action
Organizers of the planned “Run against Dictatorship” (Wing Lai Loong in Thai) have been warned by Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda that they may face legal action if they go ahead with the politically inspired event without prior permission from the police.
The group’s planned press conference, scheduled to take place at Bangkok’s Royal Rattanakosin Hotel on Monday, was abruptly cancelled after they were notified, by the hotel’s management, that the facility was no longer available due to immense pressure from “those in power”.
Their first press conference, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand to announce the event, was also cancelled after police threatened to close the club down if the event was allowed to take place.
The run plans to start at Thammasat University, Tha Pra Chan Campus, and head towards the Democracy Monument before returning to the university.
General Anupong said he disagreed with the sport themed political event, saying that the country has suffered enough from political conflict and there are still many problems facing the country, especially economic problems and drought.
Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has threatened to hold another anti-government “flash mob” on Bangkok’s streets next month. It is thought by some that the party might “piggy back” on the Wing Lai Long event by holding the rally on the same day and at the same location, to give the impression of a larger following.
Palang Prachachart Thai advisor Suthep Thaugsuban, who led the mass protests against the government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra over five years ago, said he didn’t know the motives or objectives of Thanathorn, but said it would be unfair to the country and the people if Thanathorn goes ahead with the street protests just to protect himself and the party from being disbanded by the Constitutional Court. The Election Commission has asked the court to dissolve the party for violating the Political Party Act for accepting a large loan before the March 24th general election.