BANGKOK — Netizens opposed to the government are mobilizing for what is expected to be a large protest against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday afternoon.
With two activists facing life imprisonment on dubious charges of assaulting the Queen and scores of protest leaders arrested, the largely leaderless pro-democracy camp is planning to descend on Ratchaprasong Intersection 5pm. But their plan might be complicated by a police order to close down the intersection and neighboring streets at 2pm.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau put the number of protesters on Thursday at 13,500, although the real number is likely much higher, according to journalists on the ground.
Emboldened and enraged by the arrests – as well as Gen. Prayut’s insistence on Friday that he would not resign, protesters are prepping for the protest and sharing their experiences on Twitter under the hashtag, #16OctAtRatchaprasong.
Twitter user @Teletubbiii posted screenshots of her Instagram account @Janaannd who said that she and her friends went around attacking protesters Thursday.
“Today, I snuck into the trash mob, not to join them, but to hit those fucking kids’ heads. I hurt so many. I’m so proud. They looked around stupidly,” she wrote. “If they’re not bruised, then they’re definitely broken. My friend and I raced to hit them to see how many we could hit. Today they won, but tomorrow it’s a rematch.”
Female students in their uniforms said they were the subject of sexuallly inappropriate comments.
@Balabongworld said that policemen said to her underclassmen, “You look so cute in your uniform. Do you have enough to pay for tuition yet?”
“While I was walking out from the protest, a police officer said, you can’t pass through here. But if you want to go, can I touch your boobs?”
“It’s not just police. I heard someone say, ‘those female student uniforms are so hot.’”
A group of fans of the BTS K-pop group, or Armys, raised more than 135,000 baht to support the protests by transferring money to actress-activist Intira “Sai” Chaorenpura, who in turn routinely organizes kitchens and toilets for the protesters.