August 14, 2023
BANGKOK – Members of a pro-democracy group gathered at the Pheu Thai Party’s Bangkok headquarters on Friday evening to protest its decision to invite coup-supporting parties into a coalition to form a new government.
In anticipation of the protest by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) group, Pheu Thai officials closed OAI Tower on New Phetchaburi Road at 5pm.
Steel gates were erected to block the entrance to the compound and a sign reading “Restricted Area, No Trespassers” was displayed.
At 6.40pm a handful of UFTD members arrived at the building and started their protest by shining flashlights at protest banners.
UFTD leader Angello Sathorn said they were “shining light on democracy” as a prelude to a rally planned for Monday at Pathumwan Intersection. That rally is being held to urge Pheu Thai to honour its campaign promise to voters not to team up with military-backed parties.
Pheu Thai candidates and leaders 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, Angello said.
Pheu Thai is 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.
“We invite all Thais to join us in shining a light on democracy and urging Pheu Thai to keep its promise to the people,” said Angello, adding that protests will occur at every Pheu Thai provincial office on Monday.
UFTD members dispersed after a peaceful protest that lasted less than an hour.
Police officers from Makkasan station were present.
Last Monday, angry young activists from the anti-monarchy Thalu Wang group staged a protest at Pheu Thai Party’s headquarters when its leaders met with their counterparts from the Bhumjaithai Party.
They said Pheu Thai had “betrayed” its former ally, the Move Forward Party.
Move Forward won the most seats in the May 14 general election and swiftly allied with Pheu Thai and six micro parties in an effort to create a governing coalition.
After Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat failed in his bid to be elected prime minister, Pheu Thai left the alliance to form a new one with Bhumjaithai, which is part of the outgoing coalition government led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. General Prayut led the coup that ousted the Pheu Thai government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.