Following yesterday’s anti-government protests in Bangkok, which correspondent Will Langston covered in this story, the arrest of activists including Anon Nampa whom Citylife interviewed earlier this year, and the government’s subsequent declaration of a State of Emergency, an urgent call was made yesterday afternoon for local activists to gather at Chiang Mai University’s Strategy Building.
As evening arrived more and more students and activists made their way to the meeting point to discuss the current fraught state of affairs.
Anon Nampa had posted on social media that he was being arrested and flown to Chiang Mai to be detained. He also posted that he wasn’t allowed to bring his lawyer and would be immediately remanded, without bail, to the Central Prison in Mae Taeng, causing outrage amongst his supporters.
Some protesters moved to the Provincial Courthouse to show their displeasure at the government tactics, chanting, “Release our friend” for many minutes. The crowd began to surge up to the line of correctional officers as they saw Anon being put into a vehicle to be transported. Officials had to plea with the crowds to calm down while artist Mit Jai Inn who is a close friend of Anon came out to reassure the crowds that Anon was being well treated and was safe, which calmed the protesters.
Anon’s lawyer had also sent word that he would be attempting to bail him out tomorrow, if the court allowed, though it will be after an interview with authorities.
By nightfall there were thousands of protesters at Chiang Mai University, according to local reports, demanding three things: 1. That the university takes a firm stand on the issue of arrested students, 2. That the government stops using force to intimidate and harm its own citizens and end dictatorship and 3. Release their friends. If these demands are not met then the protesters said that they will turn up their protests a few notches.
By 10pm however, the leaders of the student activists announced the end of the day’s gathering and the protesters dispersed without incident.
Today, protesters have travelled to the Central Prison to show their support for Anon.