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Police brace for large anti-government rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument on Sunday

The Thaiger

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Police brace for large anti-government rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument on Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok's Democracy Monument - VOA News
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A protest rally planned for the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue tomorrow afternoon is shaping up to be the largest gathering up to date. Since July, anti-government rallies have been building, in number and frequency, with a consistent list of demands outlined in a 10 point manifesto. These, broadly, call for the resignation of Thailand’s PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the dissolution of the parliament, the drafting of a new constitution and reform to the country’s monarchy.

Even though protesters haven’t foreshadowed marching to the nearby government house, security officials are already on alert in case the rally decides to march the 1.2 kilometres to the Government House. Any march to Government House would be largely symbolic as there will be few staff on site at the time. However the protesters have flagged that they will march to an “undisclosed location” on the Free Youth Facebook page.

Protest rallies are also being organised in other provinces around Thailand. At this stage there appears to have been no formal response from Royalist groups with any counter protests.

The banner promoting the protest also asks all attendees to bring a letter written to the Thai King.

The rally is set for a 4pm start and the invitation lists 3 key issues about the Thai monarchy, suggesting the focus of the rally will be its most controversial demands for reform of the Thai Head of State, including constitutional limitations on the Palace’s powers.

Police brace for large anti-government rally at Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Sunday | News by The Thaiger

(By posting a screen grab from the Free Youth Facebook page The Thaiger in no way recommends your attendance at the rally or indicates any support for the rallies or the protest movement)

The Bangkok Post reports that some 300 police officers have been put on alert to guard Government House tomorrow.

At this stage PM Prayut, also serving as Defence Minister, hasn’t issued any warnings or instructions related to tomorrow’s rally. But the deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon, representing the government on matters of national security, is warning the protesters “not to break the law”.

Another rally has been called for November 21, this time organised by the Bad Students movement, which will again demand the resignation of the Thai education minister Nataphol Teepsuwan. The students have been campaigning for the Minister’s resignation and demand reform of what they describe as draconian school rules, mostly about conforming haircuts, school uniform rules, rote-learning education, and physical abuse and harassment by some teachers.

The Bad Student movement has been most apparent at the country’s daily 8am assembly, raising of the Thai flag and singing of the national anthem when the ‘bad students’ raise their hand in the style of the 3 finger salute, adopted by the current anti-government protests. Many students have filed complaints of harassment by teachers and school officials following their silent protests.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 7, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    Ah good I hope it stays fine for them.
    I read the PM. has stopped making demands in relation to these protests.
    Very wise as the protesters ignore them any way and it makes him look a fool for asking.

  2. Avatar

    James

    November 8, 2020 at 12:25 am

    It seems logical to me for people to be allowed to demonstrate in a democratic way at the “Democracy Monument”.

    After all, it must be there and given that name for a reason?

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Bangkok

Khao San Road remains empty during the day, night crowds keep the street alive

Caitlin Ashworth

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Khao San Road remains empty during the day, night crowds keep the street alive | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

Without foreign tourists at Bangkok’s infamous backpacker mecca, Khao San Road has gone quiet. While nights draw local crowds, it’s not what it used to be and the once bustling street remains empty during the day time.

While locals frequent the nightclubs and bars on the street, Khao San Road is not nearly what is was like before the pandemic. The deserted street during the daytime is an ongoing problem, according to the head of Khao San trader’s association Sanga Reungwattanakun. He says before 5pm, the street is empty.

Before the pandemic, Khao San Road generated a revenue of 1 billion baht each year and 99% of the customers were foreigners, Sanga says. Visiting the street has been considered a “rite-of-passage” for foreign backpackers.

The area is known for being crazy with party hostels, cheap alcohol and balloons filled with laughing gas. It’s also known for its eclectic street food like scorpion on a stick. During the day (pre-pandemic), tourists would get massages, go shopping, get some food or grab a drink. (or 2.. or 3…)

Without the foreign tourists, many of the hotels on the street are closed and Sanga says some traders were just too slow to adjust to the new market conditions.

During the lockdown, Khao San Road had a facelift. More than 48 million baht was put into the area for major renovations like leveling out the road and footpaths, adding some gutters and designing space for emergency vehicles.

Since the road’s official reopening with a Halloween event in October, local officials have been trying to figure out ways to pump more life into the street. The campaign “Go to Khao San 2435” was recently launched to try to draw more people to the area. Nightly opening hours have been extended to 1am, but the daytime still remains a problem.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Protests

Thai Constitutional Court official files contempt charge against protest leader

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Constitutional Court official files contempt charge against protest leader | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

A student protest leader is facing charges of contempt after he made statements on Facebook critical of the Constitutional Court ruling to acquit PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, allowing the Thai prime minister and former Army General to continue occupying a military-owned residence. Critics have argued that allowing Prayut, a retired general, to say at the Army residence is a conflict of interest.

Director of the Constitutional Court’s litigation office and police officer, Montri Daengsri, filed the charge against pro-democracy protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak. Montri says the Facebook posts made by Penguin were defamatory to the court and had tarnished its reputation.

In addition to the Facebook posts, Montri says the protest leader made an offensive speech following the court ruling at the Lat Phrao intersection in Bangkok. He says the speech was defamatory and violated Thailand’s Criminal Code. Police are investigating the claims to determine if charges should be pressed.

Prayut occupies a military reception house at the 1st Infantry Regiment residential area on Phahon Yothin in Bangkok, according to the Royal Thai Army. Tenants in army welfare houses have to pay for utility bills while those who live in the reception houses, like retirees, do not pay for household expenses and the utility bill is covered by the Army.

The Constitutional Court ruled this week that Prayut did not violate the Charter by occupying the residence. The court says under military regulations, former officers can remain at their Army residence after their retirement at the discretion of the Thai Army commander.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Schoolgirl bursts into tears meeting Panasaya, fearing for activist’s safety

Maya Taylor

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Schoolgirl bursts into tears meeting Panasaya, fearing for activist’s safety | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.prachachat.net

Protest leader Panusaya Sitthijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, has been pictured consoling a young schoolgirl who broke down in tears, concerned about the activist’s safety. Rattapol Kaiipah Promsuwan, who witnessed the exchange, has shared a photo of the moment on social media. She says the girl, who is in Grade 6 (making her around 11 years old), had gone to the organisers’ area during Wednesday’s rally at the Lat Phrao intersection in Bangkok. There, she asked to meet Panusaya, a hero of hers.

The girl’s sister says her sibling has an interest in politics and is concerned about reports that Panusaya faces lèse majesté charges. Thailand’s lèse majesté law prohibits insulting, defaming or threatening the nation’s revered Monarchy, and carries a punishment of up to 15 years’ imprisonment. During her meeting with Panusaya, the girl cried for half an hour, with the student activist trying to console her, and a Facebook photo showing her hugging the child.

Panusaya has received a new summons from the Technology Crime Suppression Division, as a result of a police complaint lodged by royalist supporter, Nitipong Honark, a music composer. She is now being summonsed on December 9, to hear additional charges of lèse majesté and violating the Computer Crimes Act .

Meanwhile, the BBC has named her in its list of the world’s 100 most influential and inspirational women of 2020.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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