‘Run Against Dictatorship’ Forced to Cancel Another Presser

Activist speak to reporters outside Royal Rattanakosin Hotel on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, Dec. 16, 2019.

BANGKOK — Organizers of an upcoming sports event that doubles as a rally against PM Prayuth Chan-ocha said Monday they were forced by “those in power” to cancel another news conference.

An event to formally unveil details of “Run Against Dictatorship” was scheduled to take place at Royal Rattanakosin Hotel on Ratchadamnoen Avenue at 10am today, but activist Tanawat Wongchai told reporters the venue abruptly withdrew at the last minute, citing “immense pressure from those in power.”

It’s the second time Tanawat’s group was forced to abandon its launch for the running event, scheduled to take place in January. Their previous presser at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand previously was foiled by the police, who allegedly threatened the club with possible closure if the event was allowed to go ahead.

After announcing the second cancellation today, Tanawat and his friends then walked on foot to nearby Thammasat University, where they successfully held a news conference without intervention from the authorities.



According to Tanawat, the running event will be held at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus on Jan. 12, from 4.30am to 8am. The campus will serve as both the start and finish points, he said.

Tanawat is a fourth year student at Chulalongkorn University well known for his active criticism of the government on his social media platforms.

“Run Against Dictatorship” also won endorsement from opposition bloc leader Thanathorn Juangruangruangkit. During a rally on Saturday that drew thousands of demonstrators, the Future Forward Party chairman urged his supporters to join Tanawat’s event.