On Thursday, anti-government protesters rallied again to overthrow Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha while a no-confidence debate took place at the Parliament.
Nattawut Saikaur, a red-shirt co-leader known for participating in the 2010 street protests, and red-shirt activist Sombat Boonngamanong organized the rally, named the “Next Step to Oust Prayut” within the so-called “mob festival” format at Asoke intersection yesterday.
They have also led three on-wheel rallies in recent weeks, calling for the prime minister’s resignation.
Around 4:00 p.m., activists took the stage to debate the government’s “failed” response to the country’s problems, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.
Protesters explained the event had been scheduled on the same day as the censure debate to show that many people did not trust general Prayut’s government, Nattawut explained.
He added that MPs must now choose between backing the people or the prime minister, who “failed miserably,” causing over 10,000 deaths.
“Let’s see how the MPs, who were elected by people, decide,” he went on.
The red-shirt leader said pro-democracy groups would only accept legitimate changes despite mounting pressure on the government. If the prime minister survives the no-confidence debate, anti-government activists will try to unseat him, Nattawut said.
“But if fate plays tricks on him, we insist we’ll accept only changes by the book,” he stated, adding that they would not accept “any means outside the constitution.”
Since Wednesday, rumors have spread about an internal conflict within Palang Pracharath (PPRP), the main coalition party controlled by General Prawit Wongsuwon.
However, Nattawut did not elaborate on the matter.
A faction led by PPRP Secretary-General Thamanat Prompow reportedly expects to win some cabinet seats currently reserved for General Prayut’s unelected men for the past seven years.
Currently, they include interior, finance and foreign affairs portfolios and a deputy prime ministerial post.
A general election will be held in two years. Therefore, ministers need solid performances to convince voters, they said.
In the said faction, there are supposedly up to 50 PPRP MPs.
General Prayut needs a majority of at least 242 of all 482 MP votes to survive the debate.
The 18-party coalition has 276 votes at the moment, while the eight-party opposition has 206 votes. Whether the conflict would change that scenario has yet to be seen.
Protesters planned another rally today, alongside the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration.
The Thalu Gas youth group gathered at Din Daeng yesterday, setting off firecrackers and burning tires, but no clashes were reported.