BANGKOK — A run event widely seen as a jab against the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will go ahead as planned on Jan. 12, 2020, organizers said Monday.
“Run Against Dictatorship” will start at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus at 4.30am on that morning. The route will take runners around the historic quarters of Bangkok for about six kilometers (see map below) before finishing at the same venue where they began.
The event is known as Wai Lai Lung in Thai, or “Run to Oust Uncle,” an obvious reference to PM Prayuth, who is often referred to as “Uncle” by the press and his supporters.
Although activists behind the event insist the run is not a protest, many government critics on social media see it as an opportunity to show their opposition to the regime. Several opposition leaders also endorsed the event, including Future Forward Party chairman Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
Entry to the run costs 600 baht, which comes with event T-shirts and medals.
Organizers said special medals will also be handed out to participants who showed photos of themselves joining street protests in 2014 that paved the way for the May 2014 coup, which brought Gen. Prayuth to power.
They said they expect up to 2,000 runners on that day, though campaigner Tanawat Wongchai said police have yet to formally approve the program.
Nevertheless, he insisted the event will go ahead no matter what.
“This is the basic rights of the people,” Tanawat said.