Roughly 300 people tuned into a scaled-down Black Lives Matter rally that took place online Sunday from Bangkok.
Thais and foreigners here and abroad added their voices to the virtual event staged in the afternoon via Zoom and organized by local supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement with help from the Ebony Expats community.
“I’ve lived in three continents and I have best friends who are from the African community, who are also black Americans… you see a stark contrast in how they are treated,” said Natalie “Bin” Narkprasert, one of the event organisers. “It’s crazy that they still have this in 2020 when in 1963, that was when Martin Luther King did his freedom speech.”
Nathalie and Prameet Sirisachdecha, the two key speakers, shared their experiences and observations of racism from a conference room set beside a large screen showing those who had tuned in. While the rally focused on last month’s death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Prameet pointed out racial biases exist in Asia too, although they may be more “subtle.” He said they also hope for “gradual changes” to this as well.
During the roughly hour-long event, three hosts, with Floyd’s dying words “I can’t breathe” displayed on their arms, played the video of his final moments, scenes from Black Lives Matter protests, and speeches from participants at home.
The organisers also asked participants to observe a moment of silence lasting 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was pinned by the neck under a white police officer’s knee.
“That was amazing – so powerful! Thank you so much for organising and to the speakers for their inspiring words,” Facebooker Joanne McLaughlin wrote.
Other feedback to the event was mixed, with some complaints that the original plans to rally at Siam Square were ditched.
“One lone soldier here at Siam … Waiting for any brave souls to join me,” a Nick Olas wrote in a comment during the Facebook Live stream.
“Funny I was trying to find out where the demonstration was and this is it?!? Anyway we won’t get beaten up!” Facebooker Beau Blank commented.
Organizers said they would use footage from the 300 participants who joined via Zoom for inclusion in an edited video to be released at a later date.
Large and sustained anti-racism protests prompted by Floyd’s death, continued today across the United States and around the world.