Further updated: Saturday’s rally I

18 09 2020

With heavy rain predicted, the rally planned for Saturday may be dampened. That said, there’s plenty of media coverage of what to expect.

There are citizen reports that police and military are preventing people from the provinces joining the protest.

One useful set of observations is provided by Prachatai a couple of days ago. Associated Press has a story that claims there are “jangling nerves in Bangkok, with apprehension about how far student demonstrators will go in pushing demands for reform of Thailand’s monarchy and how the authorities might react.”

Clipped from Khaosod

While AP says that “organizers plan to march to Government House, the prime minister’s offices, to hand over petitions,” this is no longer true as Khaosod reports that the protesters “will not go to the Government House,” [with a] … coordinator, who only identified herself as View, [saying] … “I can’t tell you just now where we will march to.”

Khaosod also reports on regime preparations:

Riot police are prepared to use force against the protesters should they fail to steer clear of the royal properties on Saturday, according to an internal document obtained by Khaosod English.

The 110-page document was reportedly prepared by the Metropolitan Police Bureau and used in a recent briefing with multiple police agencies. The plan calls for deployment of riot police to defend strategic choke points around the Grand Palace, the Royal Plaza, and Chitralada Royal Villa in Bangkok during the two-day protest planned for this weekend.

The Government House, the target of the demonstration on Sunday morning, is also declared out of bounds by police.

While the police rejected the document as belonging to them, this seems a ruse. Its details are scary and dumb (or, if one is conspiratorial, strategic) in making “royal properties” a target for anyone who wishes to generate violence. The document lists responses planned:

Riot dispersal gears such as shotguns, rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, acoustic control devices, and water trucks are ordered to be on standby for deployment, according to the alleged document. Drone jamming equipment and “anti-sniper” squads will be deployed as well.

“Anti-sniper” squads seems to mean that police snipers may be in place. Back in 2010, snipers were used against protesters and to take out particular targets, with some 200,000 rounds of ammunition, including 500 sniper rounds used in military operations in April and May 2010. Other reports were of thousands of sniper rounds used.

For international reports: BBC, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times.

Update 1: Khaosod’s report on “royal properties.” Deputy PM Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has said: “Don’t go to the Royal Plaza…. [Police] will have to defend it…”. He was supported by recent convert to royalism Jatuporn Promphan, who “warned the protesters against crossing the point of no return by stepping into the royal grounds.”

Assistant national police commissioner, Lt. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapat, says “57 companies of riot police, or 8,550 men, were mobilized from around the country to handle this weekend’s protest.”

Update 2: More on Jatuporn’s royalism.


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20 09 2020
Saturday’s rally II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] One of the most confronting activity of the rally was Arnon Nampa’s call for a new People’s Party, with a march planned for today. Another was the outpouring of red shirts adding their support to the rally and seemingly rejecting Jatuporn Promphan’s royalist bleating. […]

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