BANGKOK — Activist leader Parit Chiwarak, aka “Penguin,” said Monday the protest he planned at Thammasat University will go ahead as scheduled on Sep. 19, even if the administration tries to block it.
Speaking on the phone, Parit said he expects 50,000 people to show up for the anti-government rally. The group already submitted a request to hold the protest to the university administrators last Monday but they have yet to issue any reply, he said.
“We haven’t heard from them yet but we will go ahead with the protest nonetheless,” Parit said.
The group, calling itself the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, also posted on its Facebook page on Sunday that the public can suggest a name for the protest.
Parit said over 500 entries have been submitted so far. He added that the planned protest at Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus will include a “big surprise,” which he declined to say what it is.
“We will reveal the chosen hashtag by tomorrow at the latest,” Parit said.
Some proposed names made on Facebook include, “dismantle, draft and build a future”, “Sept 19, people will rule”, “Meteorite Smashing Dinosaurs”, “We are the meteorite”, “no one is above others,” among others.
Parit also warned that if the army decided to stage yet another coup in the days ahead, it will be met with fierce resistance from student protesters. Rumours of yet another military coup spread on social media after military vehicles were spotted entering the capital. Army officials said they were part of an annual exercise.
“I am a little worried [about a coup]. But I don’t think they will dare to carry out,” Parit said. “If they do, they will lose any legitimacy that they have left. It will also be met with unprecedented resistance.”
The group held its previous protest in early August, where 10-point demands to reform the monarchy were made and read on stage.
Thammasat administrators later said they were not aware about the demands when they permitted students to hold their rally at the university’s Rangsit Campus.
The group said it’s accepting donations from the public to fund the upcoming protest. On Saturday, it also asked for Thammasat students to volunteer as security guards for the rally.