“The Thai authority” forced organizer to cancel #RunAgainstDictatorship campaign.

On 16 December 2019, at around 10.00 a.m. at Bangkok’s Royal Rattanakosin Hotel, the representative of Run Against Dictatorship organizers and the National Federation for human right, led by Thanawat Wongchai or Ball, a political activist, held the press conference regarding #RunAgainstDictatorship campaign for the second time.

Earlier, on 9 December 2019, Lumpini Police Station asked the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) to cancel the press conference regarding Run Against Dictatorship campaign, on 11 December 2019. They said that if the press conference was held, the FCCT would be in trouble with possible closure. Also, the committee must find other places to hold the event.

According to an unnamed source, on 12 December 2019, there was a reservation for holding the event at Royal Rattanakosin Hotel, which the hotel unofficially agreed to let them hold the event. Then, on 15 December 2019, at 15.30. p.m. there was an official talking with the hotel staff about the number of chairs, a projector, as well as an amount of snack. However, on the same day, at 20.00 p.m. the hotel staff had phoned to cancel the reserved place for press conference. The hotel staff said that the hotel was pressured by the authority to cancel the event. The hotel staff did not mention name of the authority or the sector that the authority has served. The hotel staff just said that “immense pressure from those in power.”

Today, at 9.00 a.m. at the lobby of the hotel, a number of people and the press waited at the press conference among 10 non-official covered authority who kept observing. Later on, at 9.50 a.m. Thanawat along with his staffs arrived at the hotel and informed the press that the authority forced to cancel the event and asked them to hold the press conference at Lan Pho in Thammasat University instead. 

Thanawat said that both press conferences were canceled. For the first time, the press conference was canceled at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT). Also, for the second time, the press conference was canceled at  Royal Rattanakosin Hotel. Therefore, he would like to ask the authority why they were afraid of holding such the press conference. The Run Against Dictatorship campaign would be held on 12 January 2020, at 04.30 - 8.00 a.m. at Thammasat University, Tha prachan campus. The starting point would be at the football field of the university. The route would cover Thanon Phra Athit Road and Ratchadamnoen Road and then return to the football field which was the finish line.
Other running activities could be held by using the same route without any problem. Two weeks ago, Thanawat asked for permission to use the route, but he still did not receive answer. He did not know why. The issue which a lot of people were mainly concerned was that whether they had to notify the authority according to the Public Assembly Act. The running activity is counted as entertainment which is excepted and does not need to notify the authority according to Section 3(3) of the Public Assembly Act.    
The goal of this running activity is to call for three things from the government such as solving economic crisis, amending the constitution, and no more abusing power to patronize their own partisans. If the government doesn't solve these problems, they will do more than running activity. In this activity, there would be free registration, which is available for around 2,000 people. The source of fund used in this activity has come from selling souvenir such as Run Against Dictatorship screen T-shirts. The organizers insisted that this running activity was not supported by politicians or any political parties. The source of fund has come from money of people who buy products. 

Thanawat said that right now, the organizers had invited every party including 7 opposition parties and pro-military parties such as Jurin Laksanawisit, the leader of Thai Democrat Party, as well as the Deputy leader of Bhumjaithai Party. Moreover, they planned to invite Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan to participate the activity. The reason why they have to invite General Prayuth is that they wanted General Prayuth to listen to people. For these 5 years, he has not listened to people at all. 


Article type: