PEEETA… PEEETA… May The Odds Forever Be… Against The House… or Something…
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai protesters raised three-finger salutes to the national anthem at public places across Bangkok on Tuesday in a sixth day showing defiance of a ban meant to end three months of protests against the government and monarchy.
Protests have only grown despite a crackdown in which dozens have been detained. Two protest leaders were arrested on Tuesday on new charges just as soon as they were granted bail on previous charges.
“This is not a leaderless protest, but everybody is a leader,” Tattep “Ford” Ruangprapaikitseree told reporters at the Siam Paragon mall, where dozens of people gave the salute which comes from “The Hunger Games”.
“It’s not anarchy. Everybody has judgement and will do what is reasonable,” said Ford, who has already been arrested twice since protests began.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s cabinet agreed to an emergency session of parliament next week because of the crisis, but he has said he will not quit – as the protesters have demanded. Prayuth’s supporters have a majority in parliament.
Protesters also seek changes to the constitution and a reduction in the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s monarchy.
The government imposed emergency measures last Thursday to stop the biggest challenge to the establishment in years, but that only served to stoke public anger and bring tens of thousands of people onto the streets.
Protesters had promised a big surprise on Tuesday if the government did not give into their demands by 6 p.m. (1100 GMT) – for the release of all detained activists and the scrapping of the emergency decree.
But nothing notable took place as the deadline passed. Other than the salutes at the time when the anthem plays every day, it was the quietest day since the decree was imposed.