Three core groups of pro-democracy activists, namely the “Bad Students”, “Free Youth”, and “Women for Freedom and Democracy”, as well as several small groups had occupied the Democracy Monument in Bangkok yesterday, November 14, to organize a weekend rally called “Mob Fest” to promote a diverse number of social causes and call for significant reforms in Thailand.
The first group of the “Bad Students” rally gathered in front of the Ministry of Education around 1:00 P.M. in response to the minister’s and the government’s alleged ignorance towards their focus of education reform, obsolete and unjust rules and regulations such as haircuts and uniforms, and issues of sexual abuse and physical harassment of Thai students.
The student movement’s core demands are also in concordance with other pro-democracy demonstrations, including the prime minister’s resignation, the constitution redrafting, and the reform of the highest institution.
An hour later, the students began marching to Ratchadamnoen Avenue where the “Free Youth” and “Women for Freedom and Democracy” groups featuring hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators had already started to join the “Mob Fest”. A group of deployed female police was seen following the student march to monitor the situation and maintain peace and order.
The creative pro-democracy gathering at the Democracy monument was scheduled to run from 5:30 PM. until around midnight. It was considered to bring out a festive atmosphere with food, music, encouraging speeches from Thai social and cultural activists, and symbolic performances.
Prior to the protest, pro-democracy organizers had sent an invitation to the cabinet committee, senators, and members of the Parliament to witness and take notice of the problems of Thai people in different sectors and to solve such problems through constitutional amendments.
Meanwhile, a crowd of pro-establishment supporters was lined up 500 meters away along Phan Fa Lilat Bridge to pay respect and greet Their Majesties the King and the Queen who would be traveling along Ratchadamnoen road to the official MRT Blue Line extension opening ceremony. Both groups had reportedly not confronted one another.
While more pro-democracy demonstrators had just arrived at the rally at 5:30 PM., the Royal Motorcade carrying Their Majesties had also passed the rally site. The protesters then turned their backs on the Motorcade and flashed a three-finger salute into the air before singing the Thai National Anthem and chanted “Thailand is the People” three times.
Unlike the previous encounter in October, the pro-democracy protesters had managed to confront His Majesty the King and the Queen in the Royal Motorcade in a rather peaceful and symbolic way.
Two former protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, who were recently recovered from fatigue and minor injuries at a hospital and former Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his family were also spotted at the student-led demonstration. Penguin had also performed his first speech after being released from detention under the topic of drafting a new constitution.
At 6:00 PM., some pro-democracy security guards climbed up the historic Democracy Monument and wrapped it with a large white cloth, in which they wrote messages to the government with their demands of a new constitution for the people and their wishes and hopes for the future of the country. This had marked as the highlight of another symbolic movement during the protest yesterday.
The general atmosphere of the “Mob Fest” demonstration remained peaceful and lively with creative activities, performances, and new ideas being introduced during the people’s speeches. The Free Youth representatives called the end of the demonstration at around 01:24 AM this morning.
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