BANGKOK — At nearly every venue marked for protests, kilometers ahead of the press, activists – and light years ahead of the police – are none other than hawkers of fried chicken, fish balls, and sausages.
Minutes after pro-democracy protest pages posted the location of Monday’s protest, motorized street food carts were already staking their ground, frying up crispy street food snacks in anticipation of heavy foot traffic.
Throughout the protests over the past week, netizens have noticed that these vendors are the first to arrive at protest sites even before the demonstrators and activists who called the rallies.
The secret, vendors interviewed Monday at the Kaset Intersection said, is following pro-democracy social media and setting out for the protest site as soon as the announcement is posted with maximum haste.
“I’m usually one of the first persons here. I follow the main page, Free Youth, and then head there immediately,” a fried chicken vendor said. “I have already prepared all the food since morning.”
She said that she made as much as 50 percent more profit than other days, and sold out within a few hours at protests. Usually, she would have to sell roadside for six hours, hawking chicken wings for 15 baht apiece.
“It’s really profitable,” she said.
A fishball seller close by said that protests were a boon for his cart business.
“I’ve completely sold out,” he said. “Normally, I never do. So this is giving me a lot of profit.”
Our interview with street food carts begin at 22:07.
Another explanation is the nature of their work. Unlike students or office workers who may need a couple of hours to get off work before arriving at the protests, the sellers who sell food full time can immediately head to the sites chosen for rallies.
A pair of sausage and fish ball carts interviewed by Khaosod English also said that they follow the protest page and alert each other to come to the protest site as soon as possible.
“I came with my friends. We’re working as a team,” said the seller who normally hawks at Wong Sawang area, about six kilometers from the Kaset Intersection.
Protesters: No one can catch up to us now, we’re so sneaky in changing up the protest locations!
Fish ball sellers: