23 May 2024

Inflatable yellow ducks, and a variety of yellow duck souvenirs, appear to have stolen the show at the Khana Ratsadon group’s protest venue, outside the Siam Commercial Bank’s head office, on Ratchadapisek Road today.

Hair pins, torch lights, hats, toys and T-shirts, all featuring the yellow duck, which has become the mascot of anti-establishment protesters, are on sale by entrepreneurial traders and they sell like hot cakes

The general atmosphere of the protest was light-hearted, except for a brief moment when well known scholar Sulak Srivaraksa, aided by a walking stick and an assistant, made a surprise appearance.

In his brief address, Sulak said he would speak on just one issue, the lèse majesté law, or Section 112 of the Criminal Code. He said HM the late King Bhumibol once said that the invocation of Section 112 amounts to an assault on him and its use will undermine the Monarchy.

“Why doesn’t Prayut comply with the late King’s wish?” he asked, adding that HM King Vajiralongkorn has instructed the attorney-general and the president of the Supreme Court, in writing, to stop invoking Section 112.

He accused the prime minister of undermining the Monarchy and bullying HM the King by invoking Section 112 against protest leaders, as he demanded the prime minister’s ouster.

Another interesting activity was the distribution of some 3,000 yellow duck coupons, each worth 10 baht, to be used for buying souvenirs.

Even one of the protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, was dressed as a large yellow duck when he arrived at the protest venue in late afternoon.

The protest organizers decided to relocate the protest from the Crown Property Bureau to the SCB head office late Tuesday night, supposedly to avoid confrontation with a small group of royalists.

The sudden change frustrated the police, because they had already installed barriers on several roads approaching the Crown Property Bureau. About 80 empty shipping containers have been trucked to the site to be used, instead of busses, to block the protesters.

The blocking of road access to the Crown Property Bureau, and the closure of the Yommaraj expressway exit by the police, caused heavy traffic congestion, resulting in extreme inconvenience to many motorists and bus commuters. Police later offered a public apology.

Four party-list MPs from the Kao Klai party, namely Rangsiman Rome, Wirote Lakhana-adisorn, Ms. Benja Saengchan and Mrs. Amornrat Chokepamitkul, were also present at the protest site, supposedly as observers as ordered by party leader, M. Pita Limjaroenrat.