Above: The flags read "Military Junta, Get Out" - a counterpoint to the "Thaksin, Get Out" campaign of last year
There were probably 8000 at this Friday rally--perhaps a quarter more people than the largest previous rally on April 8.
The crowd was a different mix than the PTV rallies. It was almost exclusively made of provincial people. Clearly they were passive observers listening without apparent enthusiasm--large groups of male provincial laborers huddled together, middle-aged chubby women with groups of children, older men in frayed shirts. There were no signs of the various anti-junta, anti-Prem, and die-hard leftist groups that were always present at the PTV rallies.
The rally speakers spoke to the non-urban crowd in a loud, repetitive, and extreme way, which lacked the subtly and biting wit of the best of the PTV rallies. There was a lot of energy from the stage, but just a bit from the rather polite crowd. People were moving through the crowd, handing out yellow bandanas (in imitation of the "Thaksin, Get Out" bandanas from last year) and small flags.
There were many food stalls set up around the perimeter of the site (lack of food and drink hindered the earliest PTV protests).
Sanam Luang itself, usually regularly resodded because of heavy use, is being left to moulder in an almost desert-like state to make it as unappealing as possible for protesters. It is not clear where these people are residing day to day--one big rain would make Sanam Luang muddy and very unpleasant.
This is a good start if they can build on it, but this group is not going to be the angry, riled up mob needed to discredit and unseat the government. It could be that inclusion of other anti-junta groups to the crowd in coming days could add needed energy.
Earlier: PTV rallies - High tension in Thailand
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- Thailand’s censorship
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- What’s really behind Thailand’s hostility to Chinese tourists?