Members of the People Go Network hold up banners calling for democracy after arriving at the Democracy Monument in Muang district in Khon Kaen province on Friday. (Photos by Patipat Janthong)
KHON KAEN: After a rough start and 800,000 steps, “We Walk” activists arrived at their destination in Khon Kaen on Friday, declaring it a success and with more walking protests to come.
About 200 marchers converged on the city centre along four routes leading to the landmark Democracy Monument in Muang district, a replica of the original monument in Bangkok symbolising democracy, sending a strong message.
- Photo gallery:
Their arrival in Khon Kaen was the start of a quest for freedom by the people, the People Go Network Forum said in a statement issued to mark the conclusion of the walk.
“Our hope was to reach Khon Kaen to mark a new beginning for the people … a beginning of our walk for freedom. We hope to see a ‘Phahon Yothin Walk’, ‘Phetkasem Walk and ‘Ratchadamoen Walk‘ to freedom and towards democracy that enshrines ordinary people as the true owners of our country,” it said.
“Today after walking 800,000 steps, here at Khon Kaen Democracy Monument Road, we mark a new beginning in history when we take the 800,001st step together towards a future where Democracy = The People.”
The walkers set from Thammasat University Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani on Jan 20, going along Phahon Yothin road and then the Mittraphab highway through Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces.
It was a for the marchers as security authorities tried to stop their gathering, prompting them to seek protection from the Administrative Court, which ordered they be allowed to keep walking.
Their arrival at their final destination was no smoother. Khon Kaen University was not allowing them to hold any activities there. The organisers were negotiating with the university for access to the campus.
“We praised Thammasat University for allowing us to use Rangsit campus for the people and for an academic forum. We hope Khon Kaen University will make the same decision,” coordinator Saengsiri Trimankkha said on the network‘s Facebook account.
They have reserved Wat Pa Adulyaram in Muang district as a place to organise activities.
“We Walk” members at Democracy Monument in Khon Kaen‘s Muang district.
People Go Network was formed by civic groups in 2016 out of frustration over the government to solve social, environmental and political problems faced by people including democracy.
The main goal is to move towards democracy, the constitution, and the rights and freedom of people, she told reporters.
“We have used all channels to communicate with the government. But we have not seen the end results,” she added.
Key issues highlighted by the group include better welfare, better living for farmers, better protection of natural resources, and freedom and rights of people.
Video by Chakkrapan Natanri