Protesters from the Move Forward Party (MFP), a significant portion being students, assembled outside the gates of Kasetsart University, situated in the heart of Bangkok’s Bang Khen district. The trigger for this gathering being the mounting frustration towards the influential senators, accused of further stirring the ongoing political turmoil in the country. The rally was passionately organized by a student assembly called the New Sunrise Party, which put forth a call to arms for fellow protesters with the slogan, “Join hands to eradicate evil-hearted senators.”
Just as the afternoon sun began to descent halfway through the sky, supporters flocked to the university grounds in front of the grand auditorium, uniting in a common sentiment of disappointment towards these elected senators. These individuals have recently cast their votes against the proposed prime minister Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party, in two distinct parliamentary sessions.
Their discontent was visibly evident through a black flag swaying in the crowd, imprinted with the phrase “Respect My Vote” and the symbolic three-finger gesture was a widespread sight among the demonstrators. These symbols of protest were directed explicitly towards the senators chosen by the military, who exercise their right to select the prime minister.
Eminent individuals like Pro-democracy activist Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon, Somyos Preusakasemsuk and human rights lawyer Anon Nampa set the agenda for the protest and instilled a sense of inspiration among the crowd. The individuals participating in the protest echoed a powerful desire for transparency in the way senators vote, and a strong wish for these decisions to align with the public preference.
As the protest gained momentum, they announced that should there be no favourable outcome after the third prime ministerial ballot slated for July 27th, the public would not rest; rather, they would escalate their efforts by bringing their protest to the streets.
Earlier this month, on July 13th, Pita Limjaroenrat’s first stride to clinch the position of the nation’s 30th prime minister faced a setback as he failed to convince more than half of the parliament members. His subsequent renomination was dismissed by Senate and House members who invoked a Parliamentary regulation, declaring the action illegal. This controversial move has been up for debate among constitutional study experts, labeling it as a severe, potentially unconstitutional error.
Security personnel were vigilant over the rally, marking a significant moment in the university’s history as the first protest following the Constitutional Court’s decision to temporarily suspend Mr. Pita from his Member of Parliament position on Wednesday. The same university bore witness to a seminal protest three years ago against a government backed by the military led by Prayut Chan-o-cha, which morphed into a widespread student-led movement questioning the core establishments of the system.
Future protests focused on urging senators, among others, to respect the sentiment of the public have been scheduled for the upcoming Sunday, as per reports from the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration and the Thalugaz Group, according to the Bangkok Post.