On Wednesday, 20 September 2006, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University published the result of a poll of 2019 people. The results are that 84% support the coup d'état, and 75% believe the coup will "improve politics". Only 5% believe it will make politics worse. This should be contrasted with a nationwide poll taken in July that found that 49% of the people would vote for Thaksin's party in the now-cancelled October election. Starting Thursday 21 September, the junta ordered the media to stop publicizing the results of public opinion against the coup, which presumably includes public opinion polls.
The Nation noted that local reaction was largely subdued. Although the Bangkok middle class was gladdened by the coup, Thaksin's rural supporters lacked real leaders to register strong voices of dissent.
In the days following the coup, many Thai people in Bangkok and surrounding area supported the soldiers in their positions by bringing food, drinks, and flowers. In the following days, the presence of M-41/A tanks has become an attraction for Thai adults and children as well as foreign tourists queuing up to take photos. At the Royal Plaza, a particularly big crowd turned the place into a temple fair with food vendors. Some schools have taken students on tours of the area
Soldiers were heartened by warm public response. A soldier who agreed with the coup although he said it wasn't democratic said "I talked to people protesting against Thaksin Shinawatra who said they could do anything and would sacrifice their lives. If that happened - and officers had to suppress the chaos - the loss would be greater". He added "We have our own democracy. We are all under His Majesty the King and people still have faith in the monarch. The military has a duty to protect the country, the religion and the King
You have to remember that since 1992, we have had four general elections; we had peaceful transfers of power; we had governments who served full four-year terms. The military in 1992 had gone back to the barracks, and up to a few months ago there were no speculations and rumors about a possible coup. The armed forces, particularly the army, had gone back to the barracks and had become real professional soldiers. So to me what happened must be considered to be an extremely unfortunate dead-end street. So let’s hope that there will be a new civilian government, fully engaged in some of the reform measures, including the revision of the present Constitution.
I’m pretty confident that things will be normal in a few weeks’ time. If you ask the purists and the theorists, they will say this is a setback of democracy, but I think you make two forward steps, and retreat one step, and then you catch up with the step that you loose, and then the future steps will become even faster. When you talk about democracy, it’s not that every country has to emulate American democracy or Western-style democracy or presidential democracy. I’m sure that many countries in Europe would be appalled if they were to have an American model of democracy imposed on them. So it has to be homegrown. So you respect the democratic values, you respect and practice democratic principles, but you don’t put too much emphasis just on elections or elected bodies or executive or judiciary. But you also have to make sure that in that process the society needs to be opened up, to permit full use of transparency, and accountability, and independent judiciary, and above all, freedom of the media, let alone the accountability mechanisms.
Pasuk Pongpaijitr, a prominent anti-Thaksin academic, noted
The problems over Thaksin had to be addressed, but I don't like the way it happened. It took a lot of time and effort to make the last constitution, and that's just been thrown in the wastepaper bin. If the prime minister has done something wrong, I'd rather see him tried legally in the courts than be overthrown like this. In 1991 [following Thailand's previous coup], the military wanted to come back to power and replace the elected government. There will be huge pressure to stop them doing that this time round.
The Political Satire Group of Thammasat University erected a large sign at Rangsit Center protesting the coup.
A student group, the "News Center for Student Activities" also issued a statement condemning the coup, saying it was "anti-democratic and truly dictatorial". The group urged the Thai people to wear black to mourn the death of Thai democracy and to refrain from co-operating with the "military junta".
Reports on the numbers, extent and nature of public demonstrations against the coup and the military government are often contingent on national media whose freedom of speech is limited by the censure imposed by the CDR.
Organised local opposition to the coup was muted, due to a military ban against protests. International protests against the coup were scattered, with a group of anti-coup demonstrators claiming to have protested in front of the Thai Consulate in New York City.
Activist Chalard Worachat and former MP Thawee Kraikup held a protest against the junta at the Democracy Monument. Thawee held up a sign saying "Fasting in Protest Against the Destroyer of Democracy." Military forces arrived soon afterwards and arrested Chalard at 12.30. Thawee refused to end his protest and was arrested 3 hours later. Thawee actively resisted arrest.
A group calling itself the "19 September Network against Coup d'Etat" organized a petition signing at 18.00 on Friday 22 September 2006 at the Siam Paragon shopping center in Bangkok. The Network was joined by the Student Activity Information Resource (SAIR). A SAIR organizer claimed that he had submitted a petition at the office of the National Human Rights Commission, urging it to protect their right to gather at Siam Paragon.
The first public protest after the coup attracted between 20 and 100 protesters, depending on the source. It occurred in front of Siam Center on the evening of Friday 22 September 2006. Nobody was arrested but a deputy commander said: "police had recorded the protest on video and would examine the tape to see if protesters had broken martial law forbidding an assembly of more than five people for political purposes." It is unknown whether the police or junta will later arrest those it has recorded breaking martial law on video. . Demonstrators wore black to mourn the death of democracy, and urged people who opposed the coup to also wear black in protest. Signs included "No to Thaksin. No to coup" and "Don't call it reform - it's a coup". One poster depicted the Democracy Monument with the caption "On vacation again". Among the protesters was political scientist Giles Ungphakorn who noted, "We believe we speak for a significant number of Thais who are too worried or too afraid to speak." The protest was not reported on Thai television channels.The Independent reported that when the first protester, a female student, began reading out a statement, armed police forced their way through the crowd and grabbed her. The newspaper also reported that a police officer jabbed a gun into her stomach and told her: "You're coming with us." The protesters tried to hold the woman back, but her fate is unknown.