Anon Nampa is an activist and lawyer who was arrested on Friday (7 August) in Bangkok on multiple charges including sedition. He was released on a 100,000 baht bond on the condition that he does not repeat his actions.
Three groups united to make the event happen: The Mahanakorn Group for Democracy, Mokaset Group and The Pro-Democratic Citizens group and there was music, spoken word and dancing that started at 5PM.
A leaflet containing the group’s demands and motivations were handed out during the event. “Many people have been jailed and more live in exile,” the leaflet read, “Losing their lives for their opposing side and disappearing without being tracked or found. This is all due to the differences in opinions.”
Over 50 armed and uniformed police officers were present and patrolling the outskirts of the growing crowd. They kept watch from the back of trucks with speakers attached to them. Officers would periodically announce to the crowd to disband. Their efforts were lost in the cheers of the energized crowd.
For 2 hours the music and testimonials continued, all in wait for Anon Nampa. The pro-democracy activist’s presence was palpable. By 5PM, the crowd had grown to a few hundred and paper masks of Nampa’s likeness began appearing throughout the lively crowd. The police kept a close eye on the situation.
In addition to crowd participation, people were also encouraged to sign a petition for changes in Thai law. The line for signatures remained lengthy throughout the night.
At around 7PM a speaker handed the microphone to a figure wearing a mask with the image of Anon Nampa printed on it.
The crowd roared with excitement when the masked figure removed his mask for the reveal; it was Anon Nampa himself.
Nampa’s powerful speech suggested reconsidering the royal power law that affects Thai people. He also talked about amending the lese majeste laws to be more in line with democracy. Nampa’s last point was to listen to the voices of the students and the public who express their political views.
Nampa took a bow and quietly slipped away after about 20 minutes.
Student activist Yossunthon Ruttapradid held his arm up after the speech, “Do you see that?” he asked, “I have goosebumps.” The 21 year old activist felt empowered and energized by the speech.