Security officials have expected the anti-government student protest scheduled for Saturday won’t turn violent and won’t see a strong turnout. The source said there was little to fear about the proposed rally on the Tha Prachan campus of Thammasat University, with no more than 20,000 people planning to attend the rally, as with the previous Democracy Monument demonstration last August 16, 2020.
The demonstrators, including the now-dissolved People’s Political Change Commission or the red-shirt Unified Front for Freedom against Dictatorship (UDD), are unlikely to be tough enough to camp out for long stretches. It is doubtful that aggression will arise. No bloodshed will take place. Security officials agree that it will last for longer than a night and not many people will take part if the demonstrators intend to camp out, the source added.
Stithorn Thananithichote, an academic at the Research and Development Office at the Institute of King Prajadhipok, echoed the opinion, saying that during the scheduled rally, he thought nothing much would happen. He noted the rally is led by the Thammasat and Demonstration United Front (UFTD), with Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak among the student leaders.
The UFTD works independently from other established student groups, some of which do not identify with the 10-point agenda of the party, including calls for monarchy reform, Mr Stithorn said, emphasizing that this association is not a large one and does not regulate all student organizations.
Previously, UDD chairman Jatuporn Prompan said he would lead the UDD backers into attending the rally as long as the UFTD leaders stopped speaking on the monarchy. Mr Jatuporn, however, said that if hard-core UFTD opposition leaders try to strike at the agency, the UDD is not sure it will participate.
Since he was a high school student Mr Parit has been involved in student activism. He, along with only a few colleagues, came out during the May 2014 putsch to protest the coup-makers. However, Mr Jade shared a reasonably significant number of protesters are likely to attend the Saturday protest, and a degree of tolerance needs to be exercised by police. He also said that the executives of Thammasat University would strictly observe the prohibition on students gathering at its Tha Prachan campus