AGI – The Thai government has declared a state of emergency by banning rallies of more than four people and banning online posts deemed a threat to national security, with the aim of ending pro-democracy protests.
The order was intended to stifle “unconstitutional” protests and came after that demonstrators calling for the prime minister’s resignation had gathered outside his office in Bangkok during the night and clashed with the king’s supporters, opposed to the demands for reforms to the monarchical system.
Student activists have staged large demonstrations since July to ask Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former army chief who took power in a coup six years ago, to step down. The state of emergency allows for the seizure of “electronic communications equipment, data and weapons suspected of causing the emergency situation, “a government spokesman said.
Tensions erupted on Wednesday while thousands of protesters gathered around the Democracy Monument in Bangkok before the afternoon tour of a royal procession carrying King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his family. While the police had isolated most of the demonstrators away from the royal path, several were still present as the march passed.
Queen Suthida was seen in the window of a limousine while watching protesters waving with three fingers, a defiant gesture that the pro-democracy movement has borrowed from the Hunger Games books and films.