‘Wear black’ campaign stirs up Thai social media


A campaign by a group of political activists to wear black on Thursday, His Majesty the King’s birthday, led to a controversy and triggered a trend on social media.

Small groups of black-clad demonstrators gathered at certain locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai on Thursday. Supporters of the campaign appeared to be more active online, posting messages mainly on Twitter.

The messages contain the hashtag #28กคแต่งดําทั้งแผ่นดิน, which means “wearing black throughout the land on July 28”. It was among the top hashtags trending in Thailand, with over 200,000 tweets.

In Bangkok, protesters in black gathered at the Victory Monument and South Bangkok Criminal Court to protest what they described as injustice against defendants being detained for lese majeste.

At Chiang Mai University, a small group of black-clad students held a gathering they said was meant to mourn the deaths of Covid-19 victims in Thailand.

Police approached the demonstrators to confiscate their banners, which was opposed by the students. Police agreed not to seize the banners on the condition that they were not displayed outside the university’s compound.

On Tuesday, National Police chief Pol General Suwat Jangyodsuk instructed police officers across the country to keep an eye on activities to be held on Thursday in which participants wear black.

Political activist Nuttaa Mahattana on Thursday described as “fake news” a media report that police would arrest anyone who wear black on the day.

“It depends on your taste whenever you want to wear black. But I wonder why fake news was released that police would arrest anyone who wears black. Many people believed that,” Nuttaa wrote in her tweet.

Meanwhile, MC Julajerm Yukol, a royalist who is a part of the Royal Family, said that the campaign to wear black on the King’s birthday was like “stomping on the hearts of Thais throughout the Kingdom”.

He wrote in his Facebook post on Wednesday that if they really wanted to mourn the deaths of Covid victims, the campaigners could do so on any day, before or after July 28.