BANGKOK — Efforts by the authorities to stage a yellow shirted gathering to show loyalty for the monarchy and denounce the anti-government protests on Wednesday seemed to backfire in some areas.
Photos and videos going viral on social media show what state media described as monarchy supporters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue cheering the protesters, flashing the three-finger salute, or even switching to black outfits and joining the demonstration afterwards.
One Twitter user claimed to be one of the yellow shirted supporters.
“My boss told me to wear a yellow shirt to participate in some ritual,” @Linchensin wrote. “But they were unclear about it. I thought we were going to City Hall, but they picked us up in a bus to Ratchadamnoen. It was so far, and they forced me.”
Some social media posts also show the group being transported to Ratchadamnoen Avenue on garbage trucks, drawing much ridicule from the anti-government camp.
“After work, I changed clothes and participated in the protest. I want to be on the side of the people, so I lied to my boss that I would go home on my own,” @Linchensin said.
In other videos and photos, purported royalist supporters raise their hands in a three-finger salute and cheer as the protest leaders give their speeches.
The anti-establishment netizens on Twitter call these “secret” supporters Natasha Romanoffs, after the spy in the Marvel superhero films.
Government officials and state media described the flock of yellow clad individuals lining along Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Wednesday as loyal supporters of the monarchy who were waiting to receive a royal motorcade along the road.
But a closer look revealed many of them to be security officers and civil servants following orders from their commanding officers.