‘Thai Phakdee’ Speaker Caught Calling for Democracy’s Demise

Warong Dechgitvigrom gives a T-shirt to Kochayotee Chiabplan at the protest on Aug. 30, 2020. Image: Voice TV.

BANGKOK — A young pro-establishment activist who roused the crowd at a royalist gathering raised eyebrows when he went on Facebook Live on Monday night and chanted, “Down With Democracy.”

Kochayotee Chiabplan, 15, said 7 times to the camera, “Long Live Dictatorship! Down With Democracy!” – a play on a popular slogan adopted by the anti-government movement. His proclaimed opposition to democracy alarmed some of his peers, and an organizer of the Sunday’s rally also distanced himself from Kochayotee. 

“He’s not a member. I don’t know. You have to ask him. Sometimes it’s because he’s just a kid,” Warong Dechgitvigrom, leader of the newly created Thai Phakdee royalist group, said by phone. 

Warong was seen giving a souvenir T-shirt to the young activist onstage at the rally on Sunday, which was attended by about 1,000 people. 

Asked whether his group supports democracy or not, Warong said it depends on how one defines the system.

“You have to first define what democracy and dictatorship are,” Warong said. “Is it a government that abuses its power? We have different definitions.”

Kotchayothee was not available to comment as of press time Tuesday; his phone was off and messages sent to his Facebook account were not answered. 

The rally organized by the Thai Phakdee group was a response to the ongoing protests staged in universities and schools across the country in recent weeks, which sought to oust the government and, in some cases, demanded reforms of the monarchy.