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Anti-coup protesters in Thailand hand out 'sandwiches for democracy'

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  • Anti-coup protesters in Thailand hand out 'sandwiches for democracy'

    Thai soldiers stand guard near their vehicle as bus passengers walk past in
    Bangkok's Victory Monument, Thailand, Sunday, June 8, 2014.

    BANGKOK, Thailand -- Activists protesting last month's military coup in Thailand face a possible two-year jail term if they get too strident, so on Sunday they found a new way to show their sentiments: handing out "sandwiches for democracy."

    A small group of student activists from Bangkok's Thammasat University had hoped to hold a picnic rally, but they found the park next to their campus sealed off by the authorities. So instead they paraded down a nearby street, handing out sandwiches and cakes to anyone who wanted them. One older man accompanying them shouted to onlookers, "Sandwiches for democracy!"

    Other anti-coup activists have held silent public readings of symbolic works such as "Nineteen Eighty-Four," George Orwell's indictment of totalitarianism. But the intimidation level is high, with the authorities rolling out thousands of troops and police whenever they anticipate a protest. Those charged with breaching the junta's regulation against stirring up unrest are liable to be tried before a court-martial.

    The military council that took power May 22 has been the toughest post-coup regime in Thailand in more than four decades, summoning over 300 people perceived as threats to public order -- including members of the ousted civilian government, activists and intellectuals -- to elicit pledges not to instigate unrest. The most recent of Thailand's 12 successful coups were in 1976, 1977, 1991 and 2006.

    Those seen as hotheads are detained without trial for up to a week, in order to give them time to cool off and consider the situation, the army says.

    An overnight curfew affecting about a third of the country's provinces has gradually been eased, with hours shortened and exceptions added, particularly for tourist areas. The junta announced Sunday that it was lifting the curfew in three more areas: the southern city of Hat Yai, and the popular islands of Koh Chang and Koh Pha-ngan.

    The curfew remains in effect in the capital, Bangkok, although it is only loosely enforced.

    The beleaguered nonviolent protest movement suffered a major blow last week when a leading organizer was arrested at his hideout east of Bangkok, and much defiance now takes place online, where protesters encourage each other to post photos of themselves giving a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance adopted from the popular movie "Hunger Games." Coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-cha said he didn't have any problem with people making the gesture, though he indicated he considered it un-Thai because it came from a foreign film.

    The army overthrew a caretaker civilian government, claiming it had to intervene to prevent bloodshed between pro- and anti-government demonstrators. Bangkok had been stricken by street protests for more than six months, leaving 28 people dead and the economy reeling.

  • #2
    Thai anti-coup protesters say it with sandwiches

    Thai anti-coup protesters say it with sandwiches
    Jun 09, 2014



    • #3
      Police detains 8 student activists before their anti-coup sandwiches activityThe police deputy commissioner later said he would pass the collected information about the activists who led the activities and pass it to the military to persecute them.


      • #4
        Anti-junta protesters released

        The police take him from Siam Paragon towards BTS Siam station.


        • #5

          01 July 2014

          BSQ2mLT.jpg wkNi749.jpg

          BANGKOK Six members of the student activist group Centre of Students for Democracy of Thailand (CSDT) ate sandwiches and read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four in front of the embassy's gate this morning.

          Over the past month, those two seemingly innocuous acts have become symbols of anti-coup resistance as activists have sought to circumventarrested and detained for eating a sandwich and reading Nineteen Eighty-four in front of a major shopping mall in central Bangkok.

          The leader of today's demonstration said they were there to enjoy the same privilege enjoyed by the anti-America protester who showed up at the US Embassy over the weekend. Sunday's lone pro-coup demonstrator, Thep Vetchavisit, said he was there to voice his anger towards the US government for downgrading its military relations with Thailand in response to last month's military coup d'etat.

          Although the military junta has strictly banned all forms of political protest, a senior police commander said on Sunday that the anti-America protester was exempted from the ban because he was merely voicing his anger with the US government.

          "This man's actions do not count as a violation of the legal ban on political protests, because it was merely an expression of anger," Pol.Maj.Gen. Amnuay Nimmano, deputy commander of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police, said on Sunday.

          Several police officers observed the anti-coup protest but did not intervene. The student activists peacefully dispersed after spending about 10 minutes talking to reporters in front of the Embassy.

          Scores of anti-coup protesters have been arrested over the past month for displaying opposition to the junta's National Council for Peace and Order, which seized power in a coup d'etat on 22 May. Many activists have been detained for merely displaying what have become anti-coup symbols, such as flashing the three-finger salute, eating sandwiches, and reading Nineteen Eighty-four in public.

          Pol.Maj.Gen. Amnuay has not publicly responded to the CSDT's rally in front of the US Embassy today.


          • #6
            See Also :



            • #7
              Military To 'Readjust Attitude' of Anti-Coup Sandwich Eaters
              01 July 2014

              BANGKOK ate sandwiches and read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-fourin front of the US Embassy in Bangkok.

              Their rally followed a one-man demonstration at the embassy on Sunday, in which a lone protester voiced his anger towards the US government for downgrading its military relations with Thailand in response to last month's military coup d'etat.

              Although the military junta has strictly banned all forms of political protest, a senior police commander said on Sunday that the anti-America protester, Thep Vetchavisit, was exempted from the ban because he was merely voicing his anger towards the US government.

              The anti-coup CSDT activists said they were staging their demonstration at the US Embassy today to enjoy the same privilege enjoyed by Mr. Thep.

              However, deputy commander of the Royal Thai Police Somyot Pumphanmuang made it clear that the CSDT will be prosecuted for violating the ban on political protests, according to a report by pro-coup newspaper Naew Na.

              "The police have photographed [the demonstrators] and sent these images to the military for further procedures," Pol.Gen. Somyot was quoted as saying. "They will summon the students who were at the rally for readjustment of their attitudes."

              Over the past month, eating sandwiches and reading Nineteen Eighty-four in public have become symbols of anti-coup resistance as activists have sought to circumventarrested and detained for eating a sandwich and reading Nineteen Eighty-four in front of a major shopping mall in central Bangkok.



              • #8
                Anti-coup students vow to continue dissent against military takeover
                Pravit Rojanaphruk
                July 6, 2014

                Thirty university students from half a dozen universities constitute the sole remaining visible and public opponents to the military junta. Two key members say they will oppose the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) until the last man standing.

                "It is like the Battle of the Alamo," said Than Rittphan, 22, a fifth year civil engineering at one university, comparing the situation to the famous battle in Texas in 1836 between defiant Texan fighters and Mexican troops.

                The reality is that 11 out of the 30 students were forced to sign an 'agreement' with the NCPO not to join, aid or lead future anti-coup protests late last month after they were arrested for trying to launch an anti-coup sandwich-eating protest at a major shopping mall. Some have since been followed and monitored by the army.

                Already, just over a month since the coup on May 22, the group known as the Thai Student Centre for Democracy (TSCD) seems like veteran democracy activists. They have been "invited" to meet with the junta three times and have set up a Twitter account at @TSCD_EN which has tweeted mostly in English, spreading anti-coup sentiments beyond Thailand.

                "Soldiers must fight for liberty not for slavery, privilege and tyranny," read one of their tweets on Tuesday afternoon.

                As university students still dependent on their parents for financial support, the NCPO has pressured families of the students to dissuade them from political activism.

                Chutidej Sumrej, 21, a social studies student at a well-known university in Bangkok, said it didn't work as his parents had informed the junta that they have no control over their son's conscience. They also pointed out that he was no longer a minor.

                During their three 'meetings' with senior members of the military junta, it became apparent to the students that they were causing a deal of discomfiture to the new rulers of Thailand. It is thought that the activists' privileged status as students has prevented the junta from taking them to martial court. Still, there is little doubt that they are looked upon unfavourably by the establishment.

                "One major-general told me that I am like dust. But why are they afraid of us? Perhaps they're afraid that we will ignite [anti-coup passion] amongst the public," said Chutidej, sitting at a cafe at Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, which has become one of the major anti-coup activity grounds. "It was a mistake for them to have arrested nine of us the other Sunday," he said, adding that all of the students are ready to face arrest by the junta.

                "I don't think the coup is legitimate," Than interjected. He added that he felt that the military leadership harbours a superiority complex and a sense of mission. "It's like a white man's burden to them," said Than. "They think they have knowledge and morality. They cite Sarit's regime," he said, in reference to 1960s strongman Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat who ruled by decree until his death and whose portrait adorned the room where Than met the generals.

                "They summoned us to have us hypnotised but it didn't work," added Than, who professes to a degree of amusement about the experience.

                Chutidej added that the same major-general also asked him if he thought those who don't pay tax should have the right to vote. Chutidej chose not to answer, concerned that the atmosphere could quickly deteriorate. But the meetings did not alter the two students' view of the situation; they only served to strengthen their resolve.

                They say that the officers they met believed that fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra must fund the students.

                Than predicts that the crackdown will escalate as there's no trust on either side. Yet both, along with four other students, continue to take risks and were at the US Embassy on Tuesday morning to stage another anti-coup sandwich-eating protest, this time armed with George Orwell's famous anti-authoritarian novel 1984.



                • #9
                  A Little History

                  UPDATE : 23 March 2011

                  The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced that it will promote Bangkok to become, what is being called, the World Book Capital in 2013.




                  • #10
                    Piyarat Chongthep at the polling station which he tore down the referendum ballot
                    (source: Khaosod)



                    • #11
                      So it only took three? Impressive.


                      • #12
                        Madman or Idealist, Activist Facing 10 Years for Tearing Ballot Has No Regrets
                        Pravit Rojanaphruk
                        September 21, 2017

                        Piyarat Chongthep tears his referendum ballot Aug. 7, 2016, at a Bang Na district polling station.

                        BANGKOKPiyarat Thongc


                        • #13
                          Brave guy. We need more of him


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