Nai Chan Da, Franco-Thai Border Conflict, Protests


On the night of 15 October 1940 over three thousand university students and city residents marched, torches in hand, through the streets of Bangkok to protest the latest incident in the long-standing border dispute with France. Local newspapers had organized the demonstration and a few journalists accompanied the demonstrators, standing in the back of trucks and making speeches designed to incite the crowd. The march was part of a newspaper campaign to convince the government to deliver an ultimatum to French Indochina: either return territories formerly belonging to Siam or face military retaliation. Among the banners carried by the students was one inscribed with the name of Nai Chan Da, a Lao resident shot and killed in a skirmish with Indochinese soldiers a few days earlier in what French authorities described as a legitimate act of defense.