Sunday, 20 September 2020

THAI PROTESTS A WARNING TO RATLAND DICTATORSHIP

 

Thai protesters challenge monarchy as huge protests escalate

Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Matthew Tostevin

Bangkok | Openly challenging the monarchy of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, thousands of protesters marched in Bangkok on Sunday to present demands that include a call for reforms to curb his powers.

Protesters have grown ever bolder during two months of demonstrations against Thailand's palace and military-dominated establishment, breaking a long-standing taboo on criticising the monarchy - which is illegal under lese majeste laws.

Unbowed: Pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok on Saturday. AP

The Royal Palace was not immediately available for comment. The king is not currently in Thailand.

The marchers were blocked by hundreds of unarmed police manning crowd control barriers.

Protest leaders declared victory after saying Royal Guard police had agreed to pass on their demands to police headquarters. Police made no immediate comment.

"Our greatest victory in the two days is to show that ordinary people like us can send a letter to royals," Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak, told the crowd.

At the biggest demonstration in years, tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday cheered calls for reform of the monarchy as well as for the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, and a new constitution and elections.

Protesters say the constitution gives the king too much power and that it was engineered to allow Prayuth to keep power after elections last year. He says that vote was fair.

Shortly after sunrise on Sunday, protesters cemented a plaque near the Grand Palace in Bangkok in the area known as Sanam Luang, or Royal Field.


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