BANGKOK – Despite the fear of Military Arrest and attitude adjustments by the Army, Anti-Coup activists held a demonstration in Central Bangkok Saturday, handing out roses and copies of George Orwell’s “1984” – a rare expression of public dissent in a nation still under strict martial law.
Dozens of demonstrators, a collection of pro-democracy groups including students, made no secret of their Valentine’s Day protest plans, advertising them on Facebook.
In response the authorities put up a series of barriers to stop demonstrators accessing a plaza opposite a mall in the city’s downtown Siam shopping district.
But dozens of activists nonetheless managed to gather on the streets and pedestrian walkways in the late afternoon, watched by a similar number of police officers.
Festooning the walkways and streets with roses, some erected cardboard ballot boxes and put up mock voting tables – a criticism of Thailand’s generals who seized power in a May coup following the ousting of Yingluck Shinawatra’s democratically elected government.
Several of the most vocal protesters were seen being led away by police.