“29% Movement” Occupies Mall Street

RAJPRASONG – Following in the footsteps of previous uprising movements around the world, the anti-government Peoples Democratic Reform Council and its supporters seized control of the capital city today, occupying a central shopping district and presenting the political mandate of almost one-third of Thailand’s population.

The self-named “29% Movement” is modeled loosely after the “99%” groups that occupied key financial sites throughout the US and Europe in recent years, only with the specifically Thai caveat of not representing the interests of nearly 99% of citizens. “We are here to take back our country from the majority,” explained PDRC secretary general Suthep Thaugsuban from the main protest stage. “As the most important, educated, and wealthy 29 percent of the Thais, we will not rest until we have asserted our right to rule as the entitled minority.”

A mob visits the mall in the political interests of 29% of the nation.

A mob visits the mall in the political interests of 29% of the nation.

Choosing to occupy key sites around the city to cause a general shutdown, the PDRC has focused on Rajprasong because of its high density of fashionable shopping malls, which the PDRC considers hospitable territory for the estimated 50,000 participants it hopes will turn out.

“By occupying Mall Street, as we like to call it, we can show the nation and the world that we are firmly in charge of Thailand’s most sacred institutions,” explained protest leader Chaiwat Bannawat. “Also, it allows our supporters crucial access to wi-fi, clean bathrooms, and Starbucks lattes,” he added.

Having set up a stage overnight, the PDRC reinforced its position with sandbags and warned its supporters to stay vigilant and report any activity by “third parties.” Holding up placards and signs declaring their demands for political reforms prior to any new elections, the “29% Movement” members also issued statements about their reform platform to the press. “For one man to unite the majority of voters, win elections, and then think he can run the country is just wrong,” said one protester. “It’s not how democracy is supposed to work.”

“Thailand needs to be ruled by good men who think of the whole country and not just themselves,” explained another PDRC member. “And we 29 percent are here to represent everyone’s interests, whether they like it or not.”

Analysts and some journalists have openly questioned the effectiveness of the Occupy Mall Street tactic, as the PDRC’s choice of venues may only result in bringing economic harm to their own supporters. However, the protest leaders are convinced that the shutdown will force the caretaker government to resign.

“Just as we 29 percent represent the soul of Thailand, the high-end shopping malls of Rajprasong represent the heart of Bangkok’s culture, which in turn represents all of Thailand completely,” said Suthep. “There’s no need to involve anyone or anywhere else in this.”