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Activists vow to push ahead with political protests in Bangkok today

Maya Taylor

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Anti-government protesters push back against riot police in Bangkok yesterday. PHOTO: AP / www.learningenglish.voanews.com

A mass gathering of protesters at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection and Ratchadamri Road ended around 10pm last night, with activists vowing to return for more of the same today. Members of Khana Ratsadon 2563 (People’s Party 2020) announced they will reconvene today to keep pouring pressure on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government. Among the group’s demands are a call for the PM to resign, for the 2017 Thai charter to be re-written and, most controversially, for reforms to the Monarchy and its relationship to the government and army.

The Ratchaprasong intersection was the site of the 2015 Erawan Shrine bombing incident that killed 20 people.

A number of media outlets speculated that 5,000 protesters attended yesterday’s gathering, violating (by a long shot) a newly-imposed State of Emergency that bans gatherings of more than 5 people. Under a new State of Emergency announced on Thursday morning at 4am, it expressly prevented a “gathering” of more than 5 people and gave police authority to “clear any area”. The Bangkok Post is reporting 15,000 people attending last night’s rally in central Bangkok.

Activists pushed back against riot police and protest leaders gave speeches, calling for recently arrested protesters to be freed. Nation Thailand reports that tensions eased around 5.00pm, as protest leader Panupong Jadnok urged those attending to remain calm, reminding them that all protest action to date has been non-violent.

As the protest came to an end around 10pm, protest leaders urged activists to return again today. They say they will stage a number of flash mob-style protests in Bangkok and around the country.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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