Yellow shirts rally at Tha Pae Gate

 | Tue 10 Nov 2020 14:02 ICT

“Today, we just want to show our spirit and our respect for our monarchy,” said one yellow-shirt attendee at Sunday night’s Pro-Royalist Rally at Chiang Mai’s Tha Pae Gate. The 60 year old business owner continued, “We are going to protect our monarchy with life; from our life.”

As the sun began setting at the famous landmark, people wearing yellow shirts and sporting Thai monarchy flags began gathering around a stage. The epicentre hosted what organisers estimated was up to 300 participants. A Pro-Monarchy group known as Thaipakdee Thailand was responsible for the event. Group organisers say the group stands for, “Honesty, Royalty and Respect.”

At around 5pm, group leaders took the stage for speeches. Supporters waved Thai flags and photos of royalty to display their affection for the monarchy. Information, snack and drink tables were set up for attendees.

“I saw the post on Facebook, got my yellow shirt and came today. I’m not scared to wear yellow because this all comes from our heart, “ said one 53 year old female in attendance.

One Thaipakdee organiser explained the purpose of the evenings’ rally was created to, “show our spirit and our respect for our monarchy and we are going to protect our monarchy with life. The monarchy is going to change but let the monarchy change naturally, not by force. This is our land. We need to be independent. Our monarchy is everything for our people in Thailand, together. We cannot let anyone destroy it. Now they [the younger generation] just wants to wipe out the monarchy.”

A few dozen police officers were present behind the function and kept watch for any conflict from passersby. The only encounter of the night arose from an older pro-democracy supporter who waved a three finger salute (a symbol of the latest protest movement) in the air behind the stage. The man quickly rode away after he was approached by organisers. The event continued calmly and without issue.

Running concurrently with the peaceful gathering in the northern city was a large protest that was happening in Bangkok. Pro-democracy demonstrators had gathered at the open field in front of the Grand Palace known as Sanam Luang to submit a petition to the royal family. In stark contrast to Thaipakdee’s quieter event, Bangkok’s protest saw high-power water cannons being utilised against protesters as tensions grew.

One Thaipakdee organiser began crying as she commented on the growing protests happening in Bangkok, “When we see someone disrespecting the monarchy, we have action toward them because we respect the king. Why do you think yellow shirts are coming out in every province in Thailand? Because we keep the feelings inside for a long time but the new generation destroys our respect by the rude way,” the pro-royalist wiped tears from her cheek as she said, “I am proud of my Thai culture.”

While the event only lasts a few hours, organisers were optimistic about turnout at future events. The Chiang Mai group’s Facebook page boasts over 3,000 followers and the group says they are rapidly growing. Sunday nights’ event was the first rally for Thaipakdee Thailand Chiang Mai and their second event will be held on November 15th. The president of Thaipakdee Thailand will be in attendance.

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