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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 campus in 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 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. Toby Andrews

    Saturday, 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.

    • daid lee roth

      Saturday, 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

      • Mike Lewis

        Sunday, 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. gosport

    Saturday, 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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