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Rival demonstrations scheduled for January 12 in Bangkok

Jack Burton

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Over 10,000 people have registered for the “Run Against Dictatorship” in Bangkok on January 12, while government supporters say they are planning a rival event on the same day. The two events point to increasing political tension in Thailand, which has seen violent street protests and even coups in recent decades.

Critics say the general election in March was manipulated to extend the rule of junta leader and current PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha. They now fear the government will dissolve the vocal opposition Future Forward Party.

“We want to show the government the discontent that citizens have with the administration,” a university student who is helping organise the anti-government event told Reuters.

The rival event is being called “Walk to Cheer Uncle,” a reference to PM Prayuth’s nickname, Uncle Tu. Organisers say about 2,500 people have already registered to participate in the “Run Against Dictatorship” ‘spoiler’.

“This event is for the public, for all of us, in the name of the people who love Uncle (Prayut), love the nation and the monarchy.”

The events are to be held at parks 11 kilometres apart but at overlapping times. A spokesman for Maverick Consulting Group, a political advisory firm, says that the competing events could open the floodgates to more gatherings.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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