BANGKOK — A demonstration to mark the ninth anniversary of the 2006 military coup d’etat ended tonight without confrontation with the authorities, who yesterday ordered the march be called off.
Activists from the New Democracy Movement led scores of protesters on a march from Thammasat University to the Democracy Monument at around 5pm where they rallied around the historic site to deliver speeches against the military government and sing songs until dispersing without incident just after 9pm.
“Return power to the people!” read one of the banners. “Down to dictators!” proclaimed another.
The protesters denounced both the 2006 coup, which ousted then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on this day nine years ago, and the most recent coup which toppled a pro-Thaksin government in May last year. They demanded a swift return to democratic rule in Thailand.
Approximately 100 police officers were posted around the area to observe. They interfered briefly to order the organizers to take down some large banners from the monument. No arrests were made.
The military junta, which came to power when it staged Thailand’s latest coup in May 2014, earlier instructed the activists to abandon their plans for the march, citing the ban on protest it has imposed since the coup.
Police officers also arrived at an earlier panel discussion at Thammasat University, also organized by New Democracy Movement, to ask organizers not to go ahead with the march. But the protesters eventually set out from the university compound without intervention from police.