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Bangkok sees biggest anti-government rally in months

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PHOTOS: Nation Thailand
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In the largest political rally in months, over 1,000 people turned out to protest the government of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument last night. The protest was led by The Student Union of Thailand and the Free Youth group, who called for the gathering through social media. It was the largest political rally since before the Covid-19 crisis and the Emergency Decree, which essentially banned mass gatherings. Although the Emergency Decree remains in effect until at least the end of July, government and police officials stated yesterday afternoon they did not intend to interfere with the protest.

The protest made 3 key demands:

  • Dissolve Parliament immediately
  • Rewrite the constitution
  • Stop threatening activists and government opposition, both unofficially and officially with laws, including the Emergency Decree

Protesters told reporters if the government doesn’t respond to the demands within 2 weeks, they will intensify the movement.

The demonstrators, many of them in black shirts, began streaming to the Democracy Monument at about 4:30pm. Some of them held posters reading “Get Out Prayut” and “The Longer the Government Stays On, the More the Damage.”

One of the protest leaders, Thammasat University student activist, Prit Chivarak, better known as “Penquin”, accused the government of incompetence in administering the country and voiced his objection to the extension of the state of emergency.

Tatthep “Ford” Ruangprapaiserikit, of the Free Youth group, asked whether anyone in the government would be held accountable for the Egyptian military debacle in Rayong province, accusing the administration of “lowering its own guard” while repeatedly urging the people maintain theirs.

Chuthatip Sirikhan, president of the Union of Students of Thailand, asked the protesters to turn the torch lights of their smart phones on and aim them at the monument, as a symbolic gesture showing that “Thai democracy is now in darkness.” She said protesters would maintain the vigil at the monument “to prevent democracy from vanishing from the country.”

Police arrived at the scene and, using a bullhorn, warned protesters that they might face a 2-year prison term and/or a fine of 40,000 baht for not observing social distancing. The warning was ignored.

Leaders initially planned for the rally to continue overnight and end at 8am today with demonstrators singing the national anthem. The demonstration ended at about midnight, when the secretary-general of the Free Youth group and the chairwoman of the Student Union of Thailand read a joint statement announcing the end of the rally.

Bangkok sees biggest anti-government rally in months | News by The ThaigerBangkok sees biggest anti-government rally in months | News by The ThaigerBangkok sees biggest anti-government rally in months | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | The Phuket News | Nation Thailand

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Somchai

    July 20, 2020 at 12:23 am

    “Huge anti-government protest at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument” Well I see that The Thaiger has the same reporting style as CNN! What is your definition of “huge”, as I hardly call 1,000 at a protest being “huge”. It equates to 0.001% of the population (1000/69,799,978). So for 2021 all staff at The Thaiger will get a “huge” salary increase of 0.001%!!

    Keep to the facts and stop exaggerating.

    May peace and happiness be in our hearts and minds and the love for Thailand and our King guide us all through this COVID-19 crisis. Please don’t be so quick to point the finger of blame, no one is perfect and we must stay calm and practice social distancing and wear mask. This is all new to us, the Thai Government and the world.

    The world is applauding Thailand for such a good handling of the COVID-19 crisis, as Thailand has handled it very well up to present date. So we should thank ourselves and our neighbours, and thank the PM and the government for implementing measures that have protected all of us. Thank you PM for all you have done to protect us at this dangerous time and unique situation. You are doing great job, despite the “huge” protest!

    You only need look and see USA how virus spread as uneducated and educated people fight about wearing mask. What about the people the endanger by their thoughtless behaviour in refusing to wear mask? Police should arrest them same as China does.

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