Police say they’re well prepared for this afternoon’s anti-government protest

An anti-government rally is planned for today, scheduled to start around 4pm. Police say they have taken steps to ensure that no laws are broken and that the rally remains peaceful. Some 15 companies of what are reported to be crowd control police will be deployed at the Royal Plaza.

Rally organisers have already foreshadowed they intend to march to an “undisclosed location”, thought to be to Government House or to Sanam Luang park, a symbolic ‘royal’ parade space. The protesters will gather at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue before they head off their mystery march. Police say they are strictly prohibiting protesters from demonstrating within a 150 metre radius of the palace. Police chiefs also say they will work to minimise any impacts on the general public.

The Free Youth Facebook page has also foreshadowed that today’s rally will be aimed specifically at one aspect of their demands – reform to the Thai monarchy – asking every protester to bring along with them a letter to HM the King.

Metal barriers are also being set up at the Democracy Monument to keep a group of Royal supporters, expected to tun up this afternoon as a counter-protest, away from the main protest group.

At this stage the target of many of the protester’s demands, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, has not made any comments about today’s protest. In addition to the crowd control forces who will protest the Royal Plaza, another 300 police from the Special Branch and Metropolitan Police Bureau will be guarding Government House. The Prime Minister is not in attendance.

Yesterday deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon warned protesters to “abide by the law” and “demonstrate peacefully”.

Yesterday up to 1,000 people gathered at the Sam Yan intersection, near the Chulalongkorn University, to join the annual Pride Parade. The parade marched to Silom where speakers spoke from a stage demanding democracy and gender equality in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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