Defying the junta’s order against political gathering, the pro-election activists staged a protest march from Thammasat University to the army headquarter on Ratchadamnoen Road to demand, among others, the army to stop supporting the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Led by Rangsiman Rome, Sirawith Serithiwat, Aekkachai Hongkangwan and Ms Nuttaa Mahattana, the pro-election activists started gathering on the soccer field on the campus at about 4 pm before they moved out of the campus toward the army headquarter which is about a few kilometres away.
The march to the army headquarter took about two hours during with police managing the traffic and telling the protesters to walk on the pedestrian’s pavement. They arrived at their destination about 7 pm and remained there until 9 pm, one hour behind the 8pm deadline permissible for political assembly.
The protesters demanded the army to stop supporting the NCPO. They also repeated their earlier demands for the junta to be dissolved and the election to be held in November this year.
While rallying in front of the army headquarter, some of the protesters wrapped paper planes and hurled them into the front lawn of the headquarter as their leaders took to the stage to address the crowd.
At about 7.50 pm, police intervened, demanding the protesters to stop the rally claiming that they broke an earlier agreement with Chanasongkram police for using loudspeakers during the rally and for occupying road surface.
But Ms Nuttaa, one of the group leaders, negotiated with the police to allow two speakers, including Mr Rangsiman who was last to speak, to address the crowd with a promise to disperse at 9 pm.
Mr Rangsiman warned that, if their demands are not heeded, the pro-election activists would step up their protests, starting with the launch of symbolic political activities on May 5 and May 19-22 to coincide with the 4th anniversary of the coup in 2014.