BANGKOK — Protests against the government and its emergency powers in the coronavirus pandemic are set to continue for the fifth day on Wednesday, with many more scheduled across the country throughout this week and beyond.
Inspired by the Saturday protest in Bangkok, a rally denouncing PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s leadership was held at Walailak University in Nakhon Si Thammarat province on Tuesday. Plans for similar protests were also announced in other provinces through August, despite stern warnings from authorities.
At yesterday’s gathering, student activists held banners and flashed the anti-military “three-finger salute” in what they billed as a flash mob at the Walailak’s canteen.
The protest reportedly lasted for a few minutes without any incident, which was concluded with the chanting of “Down with dictatorship, long live democracy!”
A group of students also gathered to “appreciate the gardens” around the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Tuesday night in a humorous jab at security officers’ attempt to seal off the monument by ringing it with rows of flowers. The “garden” was arranged by City Hall officials hours before the Saturday protest was set to begin.
“Such a beautiful garden!” protesters at the Democracy Monument chanted for 10 times last night.
Group leader Siriphob Poomphungphut insisted the gathering was not a protest, but a “garden watching” event. He rated the flower arrangement “-100” for obstructing democracy.
“This garden is the waste of taxpayer money,” Siriphob said. “I can’t see the beauty out of it because it obstructed those who were calling for democracy.”
It was the latest rally to snowball from the student-led protest against the government on Saturday evening – the largest since the government’s declaration of the State of Emergency back in March. The decree banned large gatherings in the name of anti-coronavirus measure.
Three demands were made at Saturday’s rally, including the dissolution of the House, an end to harassment of government critics, and a new charter.
On Wednesday, rallies are set to take place in Phetchabun, Phrae, Maha Sarakham, Chonburi, and Songkhla provinces. A protest is also scheduled in Khon Kaen, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, and Rayong provinces on Thursday.
No one has been arrested or charged in connection with the anti-government gatherings so far, though police said investigators were gathering evidence to prosecute those who breach the law.