Thousands of police from multiple units around Bangkok and Thailand are set to be in place around Parliament today in Bangkok where a no-confidence debate is being held by the Thai government and a group of pro-democracy protesters have announced a gathering at 5:00 P.M.
According to the protest event organizers, who are using the name MOBfest, the gathering will be peaceful and is an opportunity for those who have an issue with the current government to make their voices heard. They have also been encouraged to bring pots and pans, a tactic widely being used currently in nearby Myanmar to protest a military coup. A scheduled larger protest is set for tomorrow, the proposed final day of the Parliament censure debate.
Thai police, meanwhile, have warned continually that gatherings and rallies are currently against an Emergency Decree to control the Covid-19 coronavirus which prohibits all mass gatherings. Additionally, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority has designated the Parliament as an “off-limits” zone which could carry additional legal penalties on top of strict fines and potential jail time for Emergency Decree violations.
Protest leaders, including some who are currently jailed for alleged lese majeste charges without bail like Arnon Nampa, a co-leader of the Ratsadorn Group, are urging protesters to be peaceful and not provoke law enforcement, vandalize police equipment, throw fireworks, or use other similar tactics that could lead to a police crackdown.
Reportedly, other protest leaders stated meetings would be held with protesters attending stressing non-violent confrontational methods and peaceful protesting after recent protests erupted into scattered scenes of confrontations and scuffles, primarily driven by what protest leaders described as “an extremely small minority of protesters.”
Last weekend, this happened after protesters marched from Democracy Monument to near the Grand Palace, leading to heated street confrontations with law enforcement.
National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas had reportedly authorized 69 companies comprising over 10,000 officers from other provincial regions to assist Bangkok Police with protection at parliament today. They join thousands of Bangkok police authorized by Police Major General Piya Tawichai. Water trucks have reportedly been seen moved into the area this morning and barbed wire and other barriers have been placed around Parliament as a protective measure.
Meanwhile, some critics on social media claim the overwhelming show of force could possibly provoke more issues than resolve them, pointing out the protesters are at heart peaceful and just expressing their opinion.
The Pattaya News will be covering the events over the next two days and any developments this afternoon in Bangkok.