Red shirts join protest with temple fair atmosphere

Anti-government demonstrators gather on Aksa Road, where Bangkok's Thawi Watthana district and Nakhon Pathom's Buddha Monthon district adjoin, on Sunday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Anti-government demonstrators gather on Aksa Road, where Bangkok’s Thawi Watthana district and Nakhon Pathom’s Buddha Monthon district adjoin, on Sunday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Anti-government protesters held a light-hearted rally on the western outskirts of Bangkok Sunday afternoon, where they were joined by red-shirted veterans of a 2014 protest at the same site.

About 1,500 people showed up at the latest edition of near-daily anti-government rallies. It took place on Aksa Road at the intersection between Buddha Monthon 3 Road in Bangkok’s Thawi Watthana district and Buddha Monthon 4 Road in Nakhon Pathom’s Buddha Monthon district.

Police were deployed to keep demonstrators outside the 150-metre radius of the Thawi Watthana Palace.

Protesters on stage once again repeated demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, constitutional changes and reform of the royal institution.

The rally took place at the site of a red shirt demonstration in 2014, and most of the demonstrators appeared to be former members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship. They displayed coffins to commemorate comrades killed in previous protests. 

Despite the symbolic gravity, the rally had the air of a temple fair and featured comedians along with speakers taking turns to criticise the government and the military.

Nonetheless, organisers said they had formed various groups of “guards” including vocational students to protect protesters from any attacks.

They confirmed that a rally would take place in front of the Crown Property Bureau on Wednesday.