On July 3rd, I was among the visitors of anti-coup students activists of Neo Democracy Movement (or NDM), who’ve been in Bangkok Remand Prison for a week then. They looked confident and still energetic. Laugh and easy-smile burst into same like before – notably Chatupat Boonyapatraksa of Dao Din group from Khon Kaen. All of the ‘boy’s hair were shaved. Long and curly hair of Rattapol Supasophon from League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (or LLTD) gone, for instance. They did it in a protest, I was told. One of their key demands is not to be tried at the Military Court, but civilian court – Criminal Court in this case. They again have vowed to fight, not seeking bail out.
As lawyers and visitors showed them magazines and newspapers, in which the NDM movement has been covered, all looked very happy with (a bit) surprise. They’re keen on seeing publications and trying to catch lines of articles through the partition wall in a visiting room of the Prison. A visitor also showed them teaser clip of the planned protest in the evening. These all have made the young activists enthusiastic visibly, and with no doubt.
Yet, one disturbing news has been known. The one and only female student Chonticha Chaengreo has been sick and hospitalized inside Bangkok Central Women Prison (or “Women Correction Institution”). Various friends who visited her said, however, that she’s kept strong in spirit and won’t seek bail out either.
In the evening at skywalk of National Staditum BTS station in Bangkok, ‘mass post-it’ turn witnessed. Hundreds people attracted. “Free Thai (the) 14 (students)” one post-it reads. “We are friends” reads another. Among the mass, I ran into an old fellow and her son from Isarn – the country’s North East – with whom I’ve talked almost over a night one day in 2010 when I traveled to the region for the aftermath story of bloody crackdown on Red Shirts. Great encounter, really joyful. ‘Post-it’ calling friends and people to the ‘right’ place.
Since the latest coup on May 22 2014, total lack of leadership among dissents has led to the resistance-free period, except few occasions. The newly declared Neo Democracy Movement in this circumstance has attracted unhappy folks’ attention on one hand. But pundits seems cautious to analyse or take on the new development understandably, while some still held in pessimistic view. The NDM has claimed that they would pursue ‘people-led movement’, rather than ‘politicians-led’ one, a leader of Dao Din told me. The movement comprises of mostly (not all) Bangkok students- hotbed of middle class – and Isarn, bastion of anti-establishment. It remains to be seen indeed whether their bold move would be a catalyst at all of re-grouping grass roots or bring unexpected repercussion.
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