'Red shirts' mark coup anniversary in Khon Kaen

'Red shirts' mark coup anniversary in Khon Kaen

Activists rally along roads in Muang district of Khon Kaen province against the coup on Sunday. The coup took place on May 22, 2014. (Photo: Chakkraphan Naranti)
Activists rally along roads in Muang district of Khon Kaen province against the coup on Sunday. The coup took place on May 22, 2014. (Photo: Chakkraphan Naranti)

KHON KAEN: About 100 people took to the streets on Sunday in a demonstration against dictatorship and mark the eight-year anniversary of the May 22 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that toppled the Pheu Thai-led government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The demonstrators were "red shirts" affilicated with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and other anti-government groups in the province.

On Sunday morning, they converged at the Khon Kaen democracy monument before marching past the municipality office, eventually stopping in front of the Muang police station on Klang Muang road.

There, Pol Col Preecha Kengsarikij, the Muang police superintendent, informed them about their rights under the Public Assembly Act and told them to strictly comply with the law and avoid causing traffic jams.

The demonstrators then marched to the monument to late prime minister Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, where at 11.30am, they read a statement condemning the NCPO and its leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

They said throughout the eight years Gen Prayut had failed to carry out political reforms, restore the country's unity and do away with corruption as he had promised.

The Prayut government's handling of rights and liberties, human rights, the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic had been a failure, causing serious problems to society, the statement said.

Worapoj Sawadthavorn, 62, a core member of the Khon Kaen red-shirt group, said that eight years after the May 22 coup the red shirts' fighting spirit still remained strong.

"Personally, I think it's now time for Gen Prayut to return power to the people. We want a true democracy, not a sham one like it is now. We don't want dictatorship," Mr Worapoj said.

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