Most Bangkokians Back Designating Protest Sites, Nida Poll Shows

An opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida Poll) has shown that most of the capital’s residents agree with Bangkok’s Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s plan to designate seven protest sites.

Conducted June 27-29, the survey considered the views of 1,310 people aged 18 and older, currently living in Bangkok, with various levels of education, occupation, and income.

Respondents were asked to comment on the BMA’s designation of seven protest sites. The results showed that 84.05% supported the authorities’ decision, including 54.89% who strongly agreed.

Over half of the respondents said that they thought protesters would not cause problems for other people or obstruct traffic, as the move provides them with a space to express their opinions.

Some 29.16% showed moderate agreement, explaining that designating protest spaces would likely keep rallies under control and not cause traffic problems.

However, 9.16% strongly disagreed. Respondents in this group argued that the plan would cause protest groups to hold demonstrations more often and cause problems for other residents.

Meanwhile, 6.71% said they somewhat disagreed as they felt authorities might not be able to control protesters gathering in designated areas. Some also raised concerns about potential Covid-19 outbreaks at rallies.

About 0.08% of those surveyed did not comment or were not interested.

Respondents also discussed what the BMA should do if protesters take to the roads instead of staying at designated protest sites. Around 63.62% responded that authorities should stop providing mobile toilets and other facilities while 36.76% said that the BMA should provide such facilities as usual.

In the group, 40.08% said the BMA should take legal action against protesters demonstrating outside designated sites, while 22.44% were against penalizing them.

Some 0.69% of people did not comment or were uninterested.

Most respondents, 36.18%, said they were sure that the BMA would be able to keep protesters in designated areas. Moreover, 22.60% were very confident about it.

However, 22.22% responded that they had little confidence in the government’s handling of the protest situation, and 14.65% said they had no confidence at all.