05BANGKOK1737 PEACEFUL PROTEST IN BANGKOK
“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
“,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 001737
DEPT FOR DS COMMAND CENTER, DS/IP/EAP, DS/ITA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC, TH, PHUM, Protest/Demonstration
SUBJECT: PEACEFUL PROTEST IN BANGKOK 03/08/2005
REF: RSO SPOT REPORT 03/08/2005
1. (U) SUMMARY: On 3/08/2005, approximately 35 individuals
staged a 30-minute peaceful protest at the US Embassy in
Bangkok. The protesters sought the return of an antique
royal headdress, currently on loan to an exhibit in San
Francisco, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the United
States. This is the third such protest regarding the return
of the royal headdress in a week. Thai Police(RTP), Local
Guard Force(LGF), Surveillance Detection(SD), and Regional
Security Office(RSO) personnel were present during the
protest, which ended without incident. The group\’s leader
presented a letter to an Embassy official. Local print and
broadcast media were present. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) At approx. 0800 hrs, RTP informed the RSO that a
protest, by 35-40 people, was going to occur at 1100 hrs in
front of the US Embassy. Embassy personnel and facilities
were alerted by RSO. Marine Security Guards(MSG,s) and LGF
were placed on alert. SD personnel were dispatched to the
staging area to obtain information.
3. The group numbered 35 at its maximum and was lead by
Member of Parliament Chuwit Kamolvisit, a notorious (former
brothel owner) but popular member of the opposition Chart
Thai political party. The group demanded the return of an
Ayutthaya era royal headdress alleged to have been illegally
smuggled out of Thailand in the mid-1900\’s, now owned by the
Philadelphia Art Museum and on an exhibition in California.
4. This was the third demonstration in less than a week
regarding the return of the royal headdress. RTP and embassy
security were present throughout the demonstration. The
leader of the group spoke for approximately 15 minutes and
then presented a letter to an Embassy Political Officer. The
demonstrators were not violent nor did they conduct any acts
of civil disobedience. By 1215 hrs, the situation had
returned to normal.