THE rally by the Free Youth group at Democracy Monument kicked off at 2.33 p.m. this afternoon (August 16) amid tight security with demonstrators calling for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign, INN News reported.
The demonstrators, who insisted that their gathering was absolutely in accordance with law, said Gen. Prayut should step down to take responsibility for his failure in running the country as it had led to people losing their jobs with there being no employment for the new generation.
They intermittently shouted “Dictatorship to be destroyed and long live democracy.”
By 2.45 p.m. the rally-goers had expanded the space they had occupied around the Democracy Monument and had set up a large stage there. There was also a white pigeon procession symbolizing the rights and liberties of the people and this added colour to the gathering.
Ms. Chonthicha Jangraew, or Look Ket, one of the Free Youth group leaders, notified the police that a suspicious object was seen behind McDonald’s outlet near the Democracy Monument. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers came and inspected it and found within a white plastic bag with yellow patterns a round material wrapped in black tape and they took it away.
Later Pol. Lt. Gen. Phukphong Phongpetra told reporters that the package did not contain any dangerous substance before going to Satrivithiya School which is the coordination centre.
Meanwhile Mr. Parit Chivarak, or Penguin, out on bail under the guarantee of a Thammasat University lecturer, on the condition he does not do anything he has been accused of or else he would be breaking bail condition and have to pay 100,000 baht, had showed up but did not as yet go on the stage.
It is expected that he would do so by evening as this gathering has the permission to continue till 11.59 p.m. It has to be watched whether it would be extended beyond that time because youths, students and members of the general public are steadily flocking in.
Meanwhile the Coordination Centre for Vocational Students and People Protecting the Institution, a right-wing group supporting the Thai monarchy, said they are going to end their they rally at 4 p.m. even though they had earlier announced that they would stay put till midnight or until the Free Youth group ends their rally.
The Free Youth group’s rally at the Democracy Monument this afternoon. Photos: INN News