A BIG demonstration got underway at Ratchaprasong intersection this afternoon (Dec. 12) with the protesters hanging up large banner with the words “People’s Judgement of Section 112” to underscore their demand that Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, be abolished, Matichon newspaper said.
Jointly launching this demonstartion are a number of activist groups including People’s Party (or Rasadorn Group), United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, Thalu Fah, Feminist Liberation Front of Thailand, June 24 Democracy group, We Volunteer and New Generation Network of Nonthaburi.
Reporters at the scene said by 3.30 p.m. the demonstrators had closed all five lanes leading to Pratunam intersection and the large banner was hung up in front of Central World Complex while various activist groups had started setting up their booths with participants steadily flocking in.
Police from Lumpini station had read out an announcement on the emergency situation and were stationed at various points of this intersection even before the protesters came in.
At 3:47 p.m. the iLaw group opened its booth for people to sign in support of repealing Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
At 3:54 p.m., another protest banner with the words “12.12 cancel 112” was tied to a metal fence in front of a makeshift stage
At 3:57 p.m. the Thalu Fah group started selling some products at their booth including chilli paste and T-shirts with various slogans.
At 4.05 p.m. Mr. Somyot Pruksakasemssuk, leader of the June 24 Democracy Group, gave an interview to the press saying that this is the second demonstration calling for the repeal of Section 112 of the Criminal Code with the previous one having been held on October 31.
He added that the demonstrations sent shockwaves in the country with over 230,000 people having already signed in support of repealing Section 112 out of a target of one million.
“We have already raised the issue of Section 112 in Thai society and this is considered an initial success. So far 230,000 people have signed up in support of abolition of Section 112 and today is a celebratory announcement.
“We have entitled our activity as ‘People’s Judgement of Section 112’ in response to problems ensuing from the Constitutional Court’s ruling and also affirming that chasing signatures is an expression of people’s fundamental right.
“That Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has issued a warning to the media publishing news (about this event) is an attempt to block freedom to express opinion,” he said.
Later at 5:03 p.m. a female protester sprayed in red the words “Get out” on the street of the protest area .
At 5:05 p.m. there was a drum performance by the Rat Drums group.
A little later there was turbulence when some policemen sneaked up and removed a banner the protesters had hung up at a pedestrian bridge above the stage which annoyed them leading to some shouting insults while chased the policemen who had walked into a nearby shopping centre, Thai Rath newspaper said.
After that a representative of the protesters brought “People Judgement of Section 112” banner and tied it at that same spot.
Scenes from today’s demonstration. Photos: Above and first two below, Matichon, three others below that, Thai Rath