Siam Samakki

On Friday 25 November, 2011, two groups opposing the government protested at Lumpini Park. Dr. Tul Sittisomwong’s multi-colored group with a few hundred members gathered at 16.00 at the Rama IV statue at the Saladaeng entry to Lumpini Park, where they laid a wreath. A few tables were set up to collect signatures to impeach the cabinet.

Later, at 18.00 inside Lumpini Park’s auditorium a previously lesser known group – Siam Samakki (United Siam) – held their second public seminar: “Knowing Thaksin’s Ploys”. The first mention of this group I found in a Bangkok Post article of November 2009. Before the event began video clips were shown, such as parts of Jakrapob Penkair’s speech at the FCCT for which he was accused of Lese Majeste, and the parts of Jatuporn’s speech at Democracy Monument on April 10, 2011, over which army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha  filed a Lese Majeste case against Jatuporn.

When the leaders appeared of the stage of the filled up auditorium, about 2000 people inside the room and outside in the park, they said that their group is now a network of about 23 different groups. Their main leader appears to be retired General Somjate Boonthanom, once director of the CNS’s Secretary-general’s Office, and member of a group of 20 former army officers, senators and businessmen, who offered in April 2009 a bounty of 1 million baht for Thaksin’s arrest. On the stage presenting the leaders were were two other retired generals, Kanchanee Wallayasewee – leader of the “Thais love Peace” group and a former PAD supporter who fell out with the PAD in early 2011, and Boworn Yasinthorn, leader of the “Network of Monarchy Protection Volonteers” – a group that mostly organizes itself through facebook. After brief speeches by the leaders, several academics took the stage for longer speeches – Chirmsak Pinthong, Dr. Seri Wongmontha, and Kaesun Athibodhi were the most well known names – attacking the government and Thaksin in particular.

Siam Samakki greeted three TV stations broadcasting the event: Santi Asoke’s station, T-News, and the new satellite TV station “Blue Sky TV”, which is somewhat affiliated with the Democrat Party, and where Abhisit Vejjajiva  is part of a talk show.

At the end of the event, at about 21.30, a facebook group with masks was introduced – the “Nagahk Dordaan Thaksin”, or in English “The Anonymous Thailand”. Its members faces were hidden with masks, they held up signs, and their statement attacking Thaksin and the government.

Siam Samakki announced that it will continue holding similar seminars, and the ended with the playing of the royal anthem, which  Dr Tul alsoattended.