Army chief's song reference draws mixed reaction

Army chief's song reference draws mixed reaction

Anti-regime activist Ekachai Hongkangwan, left, strikes a pose reminiscent of the Oct 6, 1976  massacre of students, in front of police and reporters during the demonstration against army chief Apirat Kongsompong in front of  army headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)
Anti-regime activist Ekachai Hongkangwan, left, strikes a pose reminiscent of the Oct 6, 1976 massacre of students, in front of police and reporters during the demonstration against army chief Apirat Kongsompong in front of army headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)

Small groups of pro- and anti-military activists gathered in front of army headquarters on Wednesday, expressing opinions on the army chief's predilection for an anti-communist song from the mid-1970s.

Activists and police also engaged in a brief song battle.

The two groups showed up about the same time on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. Police quickly separated them and let anti-regime activists expressed their views first.

Among them, Prit Chiwarak called on army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong to stop the playing of the song Nak Phandin (Burden on the Land)  over the army's many radio outlets and at army units.

He said that the lyrics accused political opponents of undermining society.

Another anti-regime activist, Ekachai Hongkangwan loudly played the anti-regime song Prathet Ku Mee (What My Country's Got). Seconds later police countered with the national contribution song Khwam Fan An Soong Sood (Greatest Dream), played briefly and loudly on a big portable speaker.

Later a pro-military group from Thon Buri area of Bangkok took its turn. Leading the group, Bancha Panwiwat said the military protected the country and they supported the military.

About 50 police supervised the scene.

Earlier this week, Gen Apirat responded to politicians' election policies promising to cut the defence budget and end compulsory conscription by recommending they listen to the song Nak Phandin -- a right-wing anti-communist song associated with the massacre of students and activists on Oct 6, 1976.

This drew strong criticism, and demands that the army commander-in-chief stay out of politics.

Anti-regime activists play the song Prathet Ku Mee, which is then overpowered by police playing Khwam Fan An Soong Sood. (Video by Wassana Nanuam)


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