Thousands protest against government in Bangkok

Thousands protest against government in Bangkok

For weeks people have been taking to the streets in Thailand’s capital and criticizing politics. At the most recent gathering, around 10,000 participants gathered at the democracy monument in Bangkok.

© Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images

Several thousand people have in Bangkok demonstrated against the military-dominated government of Thailand and called for new elections. Around 10,000 protesters gathered at the democracy monument in the center of the capital, according to the organizers of the Free Youth group.

With protest calls like “Down with the dictatorship”, the demonstrators occupied the central intersection around the 1932 monument. The pro-democracy protest movement calls for the overthrow of the government and an open debate on the role of the monarchy in Thailand.

The demonstrators are calling on the government to stop intimidating citizens and political opponents. In addition, she should draft a new constitution and dissolve parliament, which would pave the way for a new election. The protests have been going on since mid-July gained momentum.

Free Youth leader comes free – and shows himself

Several leading members of the democracy movement were recently arrested. They are charged with various allegations, including sedition, which in Thailand can be punished with up to seven years in prison.

Free Youth leader Parit Chiwarak also took part in the protests on Sunday. He had been arrested more than a week ago for inciting a riot and violating the Corona rules. The student leader was released on bail on Saturday – provided that he was not allowed to commit the same violations again. When Parit showed up on Sunday despite the conditions, the crowd cheered him.

Demonstrators of all ages took part in the rally. “We cannot let the students go this difficult path alone,” a 68-year-old protester told the AFP news agency.

Meanwhile, supporters of the government gathered for a counter rally. “Long live the king,” shouted several of the demonstrators dressed in the royalist color yellow. Many held up portraits of the royal couple.

Tensions between the camp loyal to the monarchy and pro-democratic activists in Thailand have increased massively in the past two weeks. The demonstrators, some of whom were inspired by the Hong Kong protest movement, are demanding not only the resignation of the government, but also the abolition of a controversial law to protect the monarchy that provides for draconian penalties for criticizing the royal family. Many protesters are also calling for a general public debate about the army-backed monarchy.

General Prayut Chan-o-cha has been in power in Thailand since a military coup in 2014. Since the parliamentary elections in 2019, which were overshadowed by allegations of manipulation, he has been prime minister of a coalition government. Prayut is considered an advocate of conservative Thai values. His government cracks down on opponents and supporters of the opposition.


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