Five Pro-democracy prominent protesters, including Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, who staged a major protest against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha in Bangkok this morning, June 24th, has entered the parliament this afternoon to negotiate with the government MPs during today’s session debate.
The protest that was staged by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, which was the first major protest in three months (You can read about the last major protest by clicking here) despite still high numbers of Covid-19 cases in Bangkok and warnings from police, began at an early hour around 5:30 AM. today at the Democracy Monument to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the 1932 Siamese Revolution, an event that put an end to the absolute monarchy in Thailand and marked the beginning of democracy with the first constitution in Thailand.
The event concluded at 6:30 AM. before another rally took place at the same place at 10:00 PM. in order to march to the parliament, where the MPs would be debating about the constitutional amendments. We explain these amendments and the processes here in a prior article, you can click here to read more. The group was performing symbolic activities, including burning a mock-up 2017 Constitution that they claimed was just pieces of paper, before they started marching towards the parliament to submit a letter demanding a charter revision by the people.
As of today, many similar pro-democracy movements were staged around significant places in Bangkok and across the country, including protests from groups such as the “People of Thailand”, Bright’s Chinnawat “Nonthaburi New Generation Network”, “Thai Mai Ton”, etc, to stand up against the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha and his government and to demand constitutional amendments.
The Ratsadorn demonstrators arrived and set up a temporary stage in front of the Parliament at around 1:40 PM. The speeches given at the site remain about today’s resolution on the draft constitution. If the constitutional amendments are approved for the government’s own interests and did not dismantle the power of the NCPO, it means that the government had ignored our dreams that they have been fighting for, according to the pro-democracy statement.
As of 2:00 PM., Sira Jenjakha, MP from Thailand’s ruling Palang Pracharat Party, had paid a visit to the site and acted on behalf of the MPs to receive a letter and the 1932 constitution from Ratsadorn representative, Penguin, to be presented and distributed to all 250 MPs currently at the Parliament. This was Penguin’s first major appearance since being granted bail early last month on Lese Majeste charges which you can read about here.
Penguin conducted a major hunger strike while in Thai prison and is risking the conditions of his bail by protesting, but appeared resolute.
Then, five Ratsadorn representatives went into the parliament to submit their demands, stating that the constitution must end the junta’s prolonged power, the amendment must be able to conduct on every section, and true amendments must come from the people’s participation.
After that, a number of pro-democracy activists, approximately 500 people according to protest leaders, gathered at around 4:50 PM. for an evening protest at the BTS Skywalk of Pathumwan Intersection. The police arrived at the site and read the Emergency Decree of no large public gatherings and warning them that they could be spreading Covid-19, telling the protesters to break up the protest, but they were booed before leaving the protest.
Three major pro-democracy groups that are currently protesting in Bangkok include the “Nonthaburi New Generation Network”‘ at the Democracy Monument, “People of Thailand”‘ at the Government House, and “Ratsadorn” at the BTS Pathumwan Skywalk. All of them were reportedly staged peacefully as of press time and law enforcement took a passive, but watchful, stance.
Photo Courtesy: iLaw
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