‘Bad Students’ gather at Siam BTS

Young activists take aim at ‘dinosaurs’ blocking the path to reform

Protesters wearing dinosaur costumes take part in the Bad Student rally at the Siam BTS station on Saturday. (AFP Photo)

Young “Bad Student” activists gathered on Saturday beneath the Siam BTS skytrain station, a day after it was revealed that two of their teenaged leaders were facing charges for taking part in pro-democracy protests.

The demonstrators set up a stage on the bed of a truck parked in front of Siam Paragon and sheltered under the skytrain platform after rain forced them to change the rally venue from the nearby Ratchaprasong intersection.

Organisers of the rally had already informed authorities about their activity, which was expected to end around 9pm, Thai media reported.

The Bad Student Facebook page on Saturday posted a message with a poster that read: “#Bye bye dinosaurs. I arrive now.” The poster carried a message: “Now descending on the street.”

“If parliament cast in the role of ‘dinosaur’ rejects and refuses changes, students like us will be the meteorite that collides with the backwardness of senior figures in society,” another message read. “As our calls for educational reforms are being ignored, see us at the Ratchaprasong intersection on Nov 21. Students will talk about all the things the dinosaurs don’t want to hear!”

In keeping with the day’s theme, some protesters dressed in dinosaur costumes were being pelted by inflatable meteorites launched at them from the crowd.

The Bad Student group was formed earlier this year to protest against what members say is an outdated and repressive education system. Young demonstrators have staged a number of protests, including two at the Education Ministry where they demanded the resignation of the minister, Nataphol Teepsuwan.

The teenagers have also been active participants in the broader pro-democracy movement, whose rallies have drawn thousands on some occasions.

Volunteers from Amnesty International were seen handing out colour-coded wristbands to the student protesters on Saturday so that authorities can distinguish minors from adults in case police are planning any arrests.

Police confirmed on Friday that they would summon two teenaged leaders of the Bad Student group to answer charges of violating an emergency decree by taking part in an anti-government rally on Oct 15.

The summonses issued on Tuesday called on Benjamaporn “Ploy” Nivas, 15, and Lopnaphat “Min” Wangsit, 17, to report to Lumpini police on Nov 30. A police spokesman said the two would be questioned in the presence of their parents and a lawyer.

A poster announcing Saturday’s rally appears on the Bad Student Facebook page: #Bye bye dinosaurs. I arrive now.” 

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