Protestors wrap Democracy Monument
Three pro-democracy rally groups came together on Saturday to wrap Democracy Monument in a huge banner bearing messages calling for reform.
The act followed a dramatic scene just two hours earlier, when hundreds of demonstrators turned their backs on a royal motorcade.
As vehicles carrying Their Majesties the King and Queen to a ceremony to open a new subway extension passed nearby, the demonstrators faced the other way, raised three-finger salutes and sang the national anthem.
As the evening wore on, speakers in front of the covered monument reiterated their demands for a new constitution, the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and reform of the monarchy.
The three groups — Bad Students, Free Women and Mob Fest — are all allied with the Free Youth group, which marked its first anniversary on Saturday.
Bad Students, mostly high schoolers who have been pressing for educational reform, were the first to take to the streets, arriving at the Education Ministry shortly after noon.
The group then set off to to join the Mob Fest nearby at around 1.50pm, carrying a 30-metre-square white banner above their heads.
The cloth would be used to wrap Democracy Monument later in the day, after demonstrators had been invited to write messages on it.
“Children are often compared to a blank canvas and this canvas will be written at Democracy Monument to show young people and citizens want to write their future with their own hands,” one of the group’s co-leaders said.
Free Women, the second group, met at Kok Wua intersection at 4pm.
Mob Fest gathered at Democracy Monument at 2pm. They also invited cabinet ministers, senators and MPs to come and listen to their problems.
The group, which describes itself as a flash mob demanding equality through creative means, asked people who joined them to drop a one-baht coin each in a box to keep track of the number of participants.
The request was made in response to claims by authorities that the protests have been losing steam with a drastic drop in numbers, according to one of the group’s Facebook posts.
At Democracy Monument, Thai media reported that more than 5,000 police officers were on hand to keep the situation under control.
Many border patrol, plainclothes and female police officers armed with batons and riot gear gathered at City Hall near the protest site. A group of yellow-shirted men with short cropped hair — a giveaway of their military or police affiliation — also arrived in chartered buses.
Police were also seen filling water cannon trucks with tap water in front of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Rap Against Dictatorship debuted its new song Patiroop (Reform) on YouTube on Friday. The lyrics are about the need to rally and reform. By Monday morning, it had attracted more than 2.5 million views.
Learn from listening
- affiliation: a connection with a political party or religion, or with a larger organisation - การผูกพัน
- allied: connected with something - ซึ่งมีความสัมพันธ์กัน
- banner (noun): a wide piece of cloth (or internet space) with a message on it - แถบผ้า ป้าย
- canvas: a piece of canvas used for painting on; a painting done on a piece of canvas, using oil paints - ผ้าใบ
- constitution: the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ
- dramatic: exciting and impressive - ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ
- flash mob: a sudden gathering of people -
- lose steam (idiom): to lose energy or power; to weaken - อ่อนลง
- motorcade: a group of cars traveling with someone very important - ขบวนรถ
- national anthem: the official national song of a country - เพลงชาติ
- participants (noun): people who take part in something - ผู้เข้าร่วม
- plainclothes (adj): ordinary clothes, esp. of police officers who wear regular clothes instead of police uniforms - นอกเครื่องแบบ
- reform (verb): to improve a system, an organisation, a law, etc. by making changes to it - แก้ไข, ปรับปรุง,
- reiterated: repeated something in order to emphasise it or make it very clear to people - ยืนยันตามเดิม
- resignation: the act of leaving a job, position of power, etc. - การลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
- salute (noun): a formal signal, usually by putting your hand to your head as a way of showing respect to someone - การคำนับ, การแสดงความเคารพ
- turned their backs on: rejected; stopped doing or using something bad -
- wrap: to cover something completely in paper or other material - ห่อ, คลุม