Free Youth vows ‘surprise’ if gov’t fails to release protesters today

Pro-democracy protesters raised three-finger salutes at the Asoke Intersection on Sunday. Photo: Natt Ledger / Courtesy
Pro-democracy protesters raised three-finger salutes at the Asoke Intersection on Sunday. Photo: Natt Ledger / Courtesy

Update: Organizers have called for people to gather at all BTS stations at 5:50pm for a “big surprise.” At 6pm, the National Anthem is typically played at all stations.

A key activist group behind nearly a week of daily protests has given the authorities until 6pm today to release detained activists and revoke the emergency decree, else face “a surprise.”

After its platforms on Facebook and Telegram were threatened with closure, Free Youth gave the deadline for its demands that the authorities release dozens of activists who have been arrested on the first day without a major rally since Wednesday. 

“At 6pm of tomorrow, the government must release all our friends,” Free Youth posted on its Facebook on Monday. “The emergency decree must be revoked! If you don’t do as we demanded, there is no way to stop the movement of the “people.”

Activist leaders who have been arrested and not yet been released include lawyer Arnon Nampa and Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa. Student movement leaders Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak have been granted bail and are expected to be released today. Twenty protesters were released from prison last night, including Chaiamorn “Ammy The Bottle Blues” Kaewwiboonpan, a singer-songwriter responsible for an oft-sung protest anthem (“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Fuck you, Tu!”) mocking prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha by his nickname.

Still, many of the movement’s organizers remain behind bars.

Members of the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights walked to the parliament this morning to deliver a petition signed by 1,118 university professors demanding the government stop harassing protesters following Friday’s crackdown, in which police dispersed the crowd with water cannons, believed to be laced with a chemical irritant.

The cabinet on Tuesday afternoon approved convening a special parliamentary session on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 to debate the current political protests and possible resolutions.

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