Thousands of demonstrators once again took to the streets of Bangkok to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-och’s government. Anti-government protests are taking place every day from Wednesday, despite the ban on gatherings in the city and the arrest of the most important leaders of the student movement that organizes them.
Due to the closure of many streets and metro stations, protesters have gathered at several points in Bangkok, including the Victory Monument in the city center. Many of them brought posters with images of the arrested student leaders. Protests, where a large proportion of participants are students and high school students, are planned using social media and instant messaging, and the final locations are decided by the coordinators at the last minute.
– Free our friends! – called the protesters, who gathered in the square, despite the rain. The recordings show a crowd of people in colorful raincoats and umbrellas. According to the police, about 10,000 people gathered at the monument.
The student group organizing the meetings informed on Facebook that in addition to the demonstration in the capital on Sunday, 19 smaller rallies are to be held throughout the country.
Detained protest leaders
The anti-government protests that have been going on since mid-July have intensified over the past week. In Bangkok, demonstrators were clashed with the police, who forcibly removed them from the government headquarters on Thursday morning, where they camped.
Authorities have tightened the state of emergency in the Thai capital and banned gatherings of more than five people. There was also a ban on publishing news, including internet messages that may affect national security. The most important leaders of the student protests and participants of the Wednesday rally were arrested, who, according to the authorities, were to obstruct the passage of the royal convoy and threaten the safety of Queen Suthida who was riding there.
On Friday, the police used water cannons against participants in a banned demonstration. Nevertheless, a day later, protests of many thousands were held again in several parts of Bangkok and at least six other cities.
Demonstrators demand the resignation of a government closely tied to the army, a constitutional amendment, and political reforms, including limiting the king’s role and relaxing the law on the image of majesty. For the first time in history, citizens have publicly and openly criticized a Thai monarch
Human rights lawyers cited by the Reuters agency said at least 80 demonstrators have been arrested as of October 13, and 27 are still detained at police stations.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / NARONG SANGNAK