On 4 September, protesters gathered in front of the Swiss Embassy on Wireless Road for a planned march to the King Vajiravudh statue in Lumpini Park to call for monarchy reform, the resignation of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the immediate rollout of quality vaccines and a social welfare for all.
Protester gather at Ratchaprasong Intersection on Saturday afternoon.
The protest was organised by local activist group Restart Democracy (Redem) in advance of Saturday’s no-confidence debate, which left Prime Minister Prayut and five government ministers in office, despite signs that some of coalition MPs may have voted against them.
Ahead of the protest, police officers cut the routes between the Swiss Embassy and Lumpini Park. Ratchadamri and Wireless Roads were both blocked by rows of shipping containers and crowd control police.
Police officers also blocked traffic on Rama 1 Road between the Chaloem Pao and Ratchaprasong Intersections. Meanwhile, a police checkpoint set up on Sathorn Road searched passing motorcycles and other vehicles.
Lumpini Park was surrounded with metal fencing and police officers. Soi Ton Son and Lang Suan Road were closed.
With the routes to Lumpini Park blocked, protesters marched from Phloenchit to the Ratchaprasong Intersection, where they encountered razor wire and crowd control police.
iLaw reports that protesters then called upon the police to let them march to the German Embassy. Denied the opportunity to move forward, they headed in several directions.
One group on motorcycles tried to turn onto Ratchaprarop Road but were blocked by two police trucks. Some protesters threw objects at the trucks while another group moved towards Din Daeng Intersection, which was no longer blocked by containers. At this stage, a commotion arose and the bangs of fireworks and small explosions were heard. Police responded by firing tear gas in front of the Royal Thai Army Band headquarters.
The mass of protesters withdrew towards Ratchathewi and the activity concluded around 6 PM, after a vinyl banner calling for monarchy reform was hung from a footbridge above the Pratunam Intersection, an area close to Ratchaprasong Intersection, where the Crown Property Bureau owns large plots of land.
As for the outcome of the censure debate, General Prayut received 264 votes to 208 with 3 abstentions, the lowest showing of support he has ever received. He did only slightly better than Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin from Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP), with 263 to 201 and 10 abstentions.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul of the Bhumjaithai Party received 269 votes to 196 with 11 abstentions. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, another Bhumjaithai Party member, received 269 votes to 195 votes and 10 abstentions.
Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on of the Democrat Party won the most votes, 270 to 199 with 8 abstentions while Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the PPRP’s new Minister for Digital Economy and Society, received 267 votes to 202 with nine abstentions.