KHON KAEN – On Monday afternoon, a newly formed activist group gathered at Si Than Lake on Khon Kaen University campus to protest against the ban on public campaigns to reject the draft constitution and military government’s intimidation of activists in the run-up to the charter referendum on August 7.

New Generation Citizen

Seven activists released balloons showing the slogan “It’s not wrong to campaign,” and read a statement urging the military government to lift the ban on public campaigning and allow freedom of expression.

The group also demanded the release of seven activists including members of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), Ramkhamhaeng University alumni, and labor activists of the group Try Arm, who were arrested in Bangkok on June 23 while distributing “Vote No” flyers along with information pamphlets about the constitution and the referendum procedure.

The activist group in Khon Kaen named “New Generation Citizen” appears to have coordinated their action with a Northeastern member of the New Democracy Movement, who attempted to release identical balloons at the Bangkok Remand Prison where the seven activist are being detained, according to a Prachatai report.

Amid a heated public debate over the content of the charter draft and the referendum procedure, activists have been expressing concerns over government orders that ban citizens from organizing opposition to the draft constitution in the run-up to the referendum.

Activists’ efforts to mobilize broad-based opposition to the military government, which is determined to pass the constitution, have so far failed to gain traction.