Protest at Democracy Monument called off over fears for safety of protesters
The anti-government protest, being held at the Democracy Monument, was abruptly called off, at about midnight Saturday night, after an organizer told the protesters of something suspicious occurring which might affect their safety.
Ms. Chuthatip Sirikhan, president of the Union of Students of Thailand and one of the protest leaders, told the crowd that some “men in black”, with crew-cut hair, had tried to use black cloths to cover surveillance cameras around the Democracy Monument. Her announcement reportedly fueled anger among the protesters.
The protest, which was supposed to continue into today (Sunday), was subsequently called off.
Pol Col Itthiphol Pongthorn, superintendent of Samranrat police station, denied there were “men in black” at the protest site. He also denied that the protesters were intimidated, while maintaining that the event was being held without permission. He added, however, that the police have not yet summoned the protest organizers for questioning.
At about 11pm Saturday night, a protest leader, in his address to the protesters, referred to the People’s Power movement in the Philippines, which toppled the regime of President Marcos many years ago, in what was known as the Essa Revolution.
Echoing the protesters’ call for the dissolution of Parliament, Kao Klai party’s spokesman Mr. Natthacha Boonchai-insawat said today that the protesters have not focused only on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, whom they regard as incompetent and unable to solve the economic crisis, but are demanding a general election.
The protesters are also calling for a new Constitution.