August 16, 2023
BANGKOK – Members of a pro-democracy group held a mass rally in Bangkok’s Pathumwan Intersection on Monday evening to protest against Pheu Thai Party’s decision to invite coup-supporting parties into a coalition to form a new government.
Protestors of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) group gathered at the intersection around 6pm, holding banners and flashlights as a symbol to “light up the direction for democracy.”
As protestors marched along Rama I Road heading to Ratchaprasong Intersection, they stopped at Wat Pathum Wanaram to light candles and stand in silence to mourn those who lost their lives in the 2010 political protests by Red Shirt group.
More than 80 civilians and six soldiers were killed, and more than 2,100 injured when the military violently put down the protest on May 19, 2010, during which the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, also known as Red Shirts, urged then PM Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve parliament and hold a general election.
As Monday’s rally reached the Ratchaprasong Intersection, protest leaders took the stage to urge Pheu Thai to honour its campaign promise to voters not to team up with military-backed parties.
Pheu Thai candidates and leaders had promised that a Pheu Thai-led coalition would not include political parties that supported the outgoing military-backed government to ensure the military is kept out of politics.
The party is now however in talks with the Bhumjaithai and Palang Pracharath parties to form a coalition to secure a majority of votes in Parliament during the next round of voting for Thailand’s 30th prime minister.
As protestors shone their flashlights on the banners, they reminded Pheu Thai of the lost lives of Red Shirt members, who backed the party’s predecessors Thai Rak Thai and the People’s Power Party, since Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration.
UFTD leaders also urged Pheu Thai to return to the Move Forward-led 8 party-coalition to form a government because ‘it’s what the majority of people want’, and promised to continue holding activities to pressure Pheu Thai until the end of PM voting and government formation.
The protestors dispersed peacefully at around 8pm.