Pro-democracy protesters hold car protest rally in Pattaya against Thai government, Covid-19 measures and vaccine program policies

Pattaya –

People in Pattaya who called themselves ‘Thai Mai Ton’ today (July 17th) held what they called a ‘Car Mob’ rally protesting against the Thai government, especially the Prime Minister and Covid-19 related restrictions, measures, and the related vaccine rollout.

The Pattaya News notes they described themselves as a car mob and used social media tags to describe themselves as so.

The protest was led by Mr. Wanchalerm Goonsane. Protesters in their vehicles were rallying around the Pattaya and Jomtien area, honking horns, displaying signs, banners, ribbons, and letting the government know how they felt from 2:00 P.M. for about two hours. The protest started near Soi 6 and then continued throughout Pattaya and Jomtien. The Pattaya News does not estimate crowd sizes as a general policy, however, there appeared to be many vehicles and people involved in the rally.

The protest, although led by the Thai Mai Ton group, also seemed to include many individuals and even other groups that were upset at either the government, Covid-19 related policies, and restrictions, or both. The majority were in their vehicles, and all were seen wearing masks as a Covid-19 precautionary behavior.

The Pattaya City Police set up a checkpoint on Pattaya Second Road midway through the rally and blocked the traffic on North Pattaya Road from an intersection near Tops Super Market to make sure protesters have followed disease control measurements. However, protesters simply went elsewhere in the city and then moved to Jomtien.

The Acting Chief of the Pattaya City Police Colonel Thanawut Jongjira met with the protesters in front of the police station on Soi 9 and announced that gatherings and assemblies, even in vehicles, were currently prohibited by a Thai law that was issued last night as we reported here. This is in addition to other current measures, like the Emergency Decree and Communicable Disease Act, along with Chonburi provincial orders, that also ban assemblies and mass gatherings. According to Colonel Thanawut, this is to prevent the spread of Covid-19, even with people in vehicles. Officials stated the orders banning gatherings is NOT political but meant to protect the public from the spread of Covid-19.

Mr. Wanchalerm, however, appeared to be defiant after Colonel Thanawut’s statements and announced to protesters, “These orders are not the will of the Thai people, who have been repressed by these rules, orders, and restrictions. We are listening but we are not following. If today any of our protesters are arrested, we will not stop here.”

Protesters were cheering Wanchalerm while police stayed calm. Both sides were peaceful, although protesters broke a rice bowl in front of the Pattaya Police station with an image of the Thai Prime Minister on it, which is part of an ancient belief signifying victory before a war. Police did not make any immediate arrests during the protests.

Mr. Wanchalerm added through a microphone to a rowdy crowd, many on motorbikes in front of the police station, “The Thai government cannot do their job to get rid of Covid -19  which is now destroying our economy and tourism industry for the past year and a half, shutting down people’s livelihoods, and businesses for over three months now, and causing even more restrictions and measures. But where are the vaccines? Why do we keep punishing the people?  Where is our aid and support? Pattaya is suffering, Thailand is suffering.”

“We have already filed a report to the police to arrest the Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan O’Cha, for using a fake law to oppress the Thai people,” Wanchalerm added.

Pattaya Police did not immediately state if they planned to take action on the police report filed by Wanchalerm and his supporters.

Following the protest, protesters gave food to the needy on Pattaya Beach, which has seen a rising number of homeless and those in dire straits due to the Covid-19 situation that has devastated Pattaya’s tourism-reliant economy. The protesters then dispersed peacefully, although law enforcement kept a watchful eye during the entire proceedings.

Pattaya City Police have not yet stated if any charges would be forthcoming for those who participated in the assembly, which they continued to state was illegal and could potentially spread the Covid-19 coronavirus.

A full video of the protest can be found on our Facebook page, linked below, under the live video section.


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Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.