On Thursday (31 March), the activist group Thaluwang staged another opinion poll, this one on whether people want their tax money to be budgeted to the monarchy.
Thaluwang conducting their poll on the overpass in front of Big C Ratchadamri supermarket
Between 16.30 – 18.30, the activists stood on an overpass in front of Big C Ratchadamri Supermarket with a poster bearing the question “Do you want to pay taxes to maintain the monarchy?” Passersby placed stickers to vote yes or no.
Baipor, a group member, said that they were conducting the survey because people’s taxes were already being used to maintain the monarchy without anyone having had a say in the matter.
Despite facing charges for a previous poll, Baipor insists that polling public opinion was not damaging to the monarchy since it is only involved raising questions. She added that such activities encouraged public participation, opening up a space for people to share their views.
The Center for People Protecting the Monarchy, a royalist group, filed charges against Thaluwang activists for their survey and posts about the royal budget. In response, Baipor said she believes that it was possible for groups with different views to coexist in society. She noted that when Thaluwang conducted a poll on land expropriation near Victory Monument, they did not clash with a group of royalist protesters who were gathered in the same area.
“We’re just expressing ourselves. We’re not causing trouble for anyone. We are letting people express their opinions. We are not breaking any laws, but we’ll have to wait and see whether the police use the law to silence us again,” she said.
Baipor said that she is still under police surveillance and has to be careful; she does not want her group’s messages to lost to police violence. She added that during yesterday’s poll (31 March), there were no police on the overpass. She also felt that people were more than willing to participate in the poll.
The activists displaying their poll at Ratchaprasong Intersection
At 18.30, the activists walked over to the Ratchaprasong Intersection to display their poll results at a location where Red Shirt protesters were killed during the 2010 protest crackdown. Supitcha Chailom, another group member, said that the survey makes it clear that at least some people do not want their taxes to be used in support of the monarchy. According to the group’s Facebook page, 98.4% of those participating in the survey were opposed to the practice.