Talking protests and car mobs with Nattawut Saikua

Nattawut Saikua on Thursday broke the political silence he has held since his release from detention in December when he announced the #ไล่ประยุทธ์ (Ousting Prayut) campaign.

The name of the campaign clearly states its goal to oust Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha, but many details remain unclear.

The secretary-general of the now-dormant United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) talked to Thai Enquirer on the phone to explain his latest move.

TE: Is this a personal campaign or is it in the name of the UDD, or the Red Shirts?

Nattawut: The UDD has been inactive for nearly three years now but the Red Shirts still exist in the heart of the people who are willing to fight.

I launched the campaign as an ordinary citizen, and it will require collaboration with other groups in order to find a common ground and pile on the pressure to oust General Prayut.

The Red Shirts will be one of the main parts of the campaign and we invite them to come back and join the fight again with us and other groups that we are collaborating with.

TE: Is Ousting Prayut an online campaign only or will the group take it to the street?

Nattawut: The movement will be online and in the form of social activities. But the Covid outbreak situation means that there are many limitations, especially for large gatherings.

Therefore, the format for these activities will be designed to fit in with the current outbreak situation based on the safety of the people.

I will start by joining the car mob [protest march attended by people driving their cars slowly] on August 1 and we will continue to collaborate with other groups to continue with the movement after that.

TE: Does this mean that Ousting Prayut, Jatuporn Prompan’s Thai Mai Thon and Sombat Boonngamanong’s Car Mob group will all work together from now on?

Nattawut: No. I am joining as a citizen but how we can collaborate with each other in the future will be discussed later.

TE: Just to clarify, these three groups will never join up to be one group?  

Nattawut: Not yet.

TE: Will you work with the Ratsadon [the main student-led pro-democracy protest group]?

Nattawut: I have met with some of their leaders when we were in the Bangkok Remand Prison together and I have already announced that I am ready to stand with them.

However, the group has its own ways to fight and they have their own organizations that are leading them and how we will be able to cooperate with each other remains to be seen.

As I have said, I have to talked to many groups and I believe that all that share the same feeling right now, all of them wanted to express their opinion but we must find a common ground. They must be able to organize their thoughts together.

TE: What is likely to happen on August 1?

Nattawut: There will be no stage, similar to the previous car mobs. The rally will start from various roads and then join together at the Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.  

The protesting cars will take a position in the middle of the road which means that other people can still use the parallel way or the tollway to get around the car mob.

TE: The ultimate goal is to oust Prime Minister Prayut, but how?

Nattawut: My proposal is that he must resign.

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