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Protesters flood Thammasat University for major anti-government rally

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Today, Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus in Bangkok is seeing thousands of protesters flood its campusin what they say is the biggest rally yet against the Prayut-led Thai government. After unsuccessfully trying to gain permission from university officials, the protesters broke through the gates of the history-laden university and are now gathering for the schedule of anti-government speeches.

Earlier this week protesters were hoping for around 50,000 demonstrators with security officials saying it would more likely to be around 20,000. Today’s poor Bangkok weather is likely to make a crowd size more the latter than the former.

Security officials did little to prevent their entrance into the campus and people on site say that there is a clear intention, from all sides, not to inflame any tensions.

The protesters, some who have identified themselves as members of the pro-Thaksin Red Shirt movement, are made up of a majority of students who are being led by student and political activists “Panusaya” and “Panupong”. Both have spoken at previous rallies and made it clear about their demands for political reform and changes to the role of the Thai monarch.

Today’s protest was well-anticipated as the government has deployed up to 10,000 police and sent warnings to those around the area, including such things as respecting social distancing and following the laws on public assembly. Embassies have also sent out notifications to expats warning them to be aware of their surroundings in downtown Bangkok. Despite such warnings by police, officials say they will try to ensure protesters’ safety during the event.

Protesters flood Thammasat University for major anti-government rally | News by The Thaiger

Some protests in the past have become violent – Thammasat University was the scene of a violent clash in the 1970’s which followed after the ousting of a political party only to later attempt to bring back one of the party’s leaders. Official figures put the death toll of the so-called Thammasat Massacre at 46, with 167 injured and more than 3,000 arrested. However, survivors put the death toll closer to 100. The clash was then used to justify a military coup which overthrew the democratically-elected government.

Protesters started pouring into the area early today with some even shaking the gates in an attempt to open them, while others put up anti-government posters on the walls facing the royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang. The group also prepared for the event by setting up makeshift kitchens to supply the rally-goers with food as the demonstration is expected to go into the evening. At 2 pm today, leaders of the protest say they will push forward with their demands for political reform and changes to the country’s revered monarchy with a film producer, Yutthalert Sippapark, offering his works and art to be screened at the site tonight.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    September 19, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    broke through the gates? That’s more like it. These protesters have been too polite for too long.
    I hope the weather stays fine for them, and they have a good protest.

    • Avatar

      daid lee roth

      September 19, 2020 at 8:10 pm

      Well I believe i think what these young people believe. Their is a Dmocratic Monument in Victory Square. Either you live die and breathe by it or you punt and say we our a dual dicatorship of the Monarchy and that kindly gennerous whoring thing that her plane was confiscatewd in the UK because she liked white cocaine from Brazil and she liked to have male strippers on her plane as well

      • Avatar

        Mike Lewis

        September 20, 2020 at 1:21 pm

        NGO The Thaiger throws its weight and censorship behind this student demonstration sgainst the Monarchy. 25000 to 30000 people or even 50000 is not a massive demonstration as Thaiger would have you believe. They are mostly Ini students and they certainly are not representative of the Thai population. The monarchy is supported by the vast majority of the Thai people including the majority of Uni students. The backlash against these renegade student will be seen soon, no doubt. The monarchy belongs to the people not the students.

  2. Avatar

    gosport

    September 19, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    The weather is good, the protesters are polite, all good, it is the time to get thumbs up for your pictures.

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Crime

Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver

Caitlin Ashworth

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Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver | The Thaiger
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A National Anti-Corruption Commission senior official was sentenced by the Criminal Court to 1 year in jail with a 2 year suspension for pointing a loaded .38 Colt pistol, threatening a Bangkok taxi driver back in 2018. Nation Thailand called it a “very lenient” sentence.

The assistant secretary general of the commission, 54 year old Piset Nakapan, must also pay a fine of 31,000 baht. He was charged with weapon in violation of Section 309 of the Criminal Code, carrying a weapon in public, threatening others, and violating the Firearms Act.

Footage from the taxi’s dashboard camera shows Piset getting out of his car and pointing the loaded gun at the taxi. He said to the driver, Pipat Seesa-on, “Why are you following me? Drive back and use another road.”

At the trail, Piset confessed to the charges and gave Pipat 2,000 baht as compensation. Since he confessed, the court commuted his sentence in half, cutting down the 2 year jail term to just a year and a 62,000 baht fine down to 31,000 baht. His jail term is suspended for 2 years, with mandatory probation check-ins every 4 months.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue

Caitlin Ashworth

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Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue | The Thaiger

In the midst of Thailand reopening its borders to foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa, political protests have only grown in Bangkok and are now being held in cities across Thailand. Now tourism operators are worried and are asking the government to engage in dialogue with the protesters. President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Trirattanajarasporn says he’s worried about another coup (Thailand’s had 12 since 1932) being used to solve the problems rather than talking it out.

“If the situation’s gone too far, I am concerned a coup will worsen the economy and affect the country’s image on the global stage… A coup is not the ultimate solution to the problem.”

Now that the protests are spreading across the country, Chairat says some tourist destinations could be impacted. In Bangkok, traffic has been blocked on busy intersections by thousands of protesters. BTS and MRT stations have also been shut down during some protests. He adds that people also tend to save their money during times of protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

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On the flip side, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says he’s checked with TAT’s 29 overseas offices that have been monitoring international feedback and no one has reported concerns with Thailand’s political climate, adding that the visitors on the Special Tourist Visa are sticking with their plans to travel to Thailand.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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10 international airlines now offer flights to Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Unsplash: Kovah

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The airlines include: Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swissair, Austrian Airlines, Eva Air and KLM.

Don’t get too excited. It’s still not easy to get into Thailand. All international arrivals must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine with Covid-19 testing as well as other requirements set by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Thailand recently introduced the Special Tourist Visa which allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. Tourists will still need to go through a 14 day quarantine period, either at a state facility or at an alternative state quarantine (ASQ) accommodation. The first group of 41 people on the visa, travelling from China, are set to arrive in Bangkok today. They will be the first international tourists to arrive since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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