“The Danish government has to apologise for a month. Every day there has to be a statement in the newspaper where the government is to promise that something like this will never happen again,” said the leader of the demonstration in front of the Danish Embassy.
Monday morning at 09.00 am around 400 Muslims gathered in Lumpini Park and then moved from there to the front of the Danish Embassy in Bangkok to demonstrate their contempt for drawings of the Prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper. The demonstration was arranged by “Muslims Who Love Peace”, who apparently number as many as seven million Thai muslims. During thier protest, they asked that the leader of the Muslim Council in Thailand give a speech about the drawings, and secondly they encouraged Thai muslims to boycott Danish products. Thirdly they wanted a set of apologies from the Danish government.
Most of the population of Thailand are Buddhists, and the demonstration is the first move the muslim minority in Thailand has made to prtotest the drawings and it was surprising to some observers that the demonstration managed to gather so many people.
“If the Danish government will not apologise, the muslim wrath will last forever,” emphasised the leader, who also compared Danes to dogs – one of the most disgusting animals to muslims.
A single muslim took his place with his feet planted solidly on the Danish flag, but no one moved to burn the flag as it has been the case in the Middle East, allegedly because the organizers had asked for a peaceful demonstration.
Many of the demonstrators carried signs which expressed anger against all Danes.
“Boycott Danish goods”; “Do Danes Know Freedom of Expression” and one individual carried a shirt which referred to suicide bombings. It had the text “We love Muhammad more than life”, written on front and “Why must we commit suicide” on the back.
The Thai police were strong in numbers at the site, but they would not allow the embassy to open the gate, so two Danish journalists at the scene could not get inside. Opening the gate would result in danger for the embassy, they said.
The demonstration was well organised and the people were gathered due to announcements made on the internet. At the Embassy, they were well aware that there was going to be a demonstration, and had therefore given some of the staff the day off.
The organizers were in contact with each other throughout the demonstration using walkie-talkies. They also carried paper copies of the leader’s speech, written in Thai, which they gave to the local journalists at the scene. Only Thai journalists were present at the scene as the police advised European journalists to move away, as the demonstrators had earlier tried to hit a man who looked European.
Danes not welcome
The leader who was from the group, “Muslims Who Love Peace”, underlined that he wanted a peaceful demonstration.
The leader was quite conclusive as to what he would do, if a Dane showed up at the demonstration. He was to be kicked and killed and that also applied to the Ambassador if he showed up, he said. He wouldn’t care if he had to go to jail, he added. All he asked was that the other demonstrators would help pay to get him out. That statement was followed by a roar of acknowledgment from the rest of the demonstrators.
The demonstration ended – as planned – peacefully. The demonstrators walked back to Lumpini Park and held their afternoon prayers before leaving.