By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Panarat Thepgumpanat
BANGKOK (Reuters) – 1000’s of anti-government protesters took over key intersections in Bangkok on Sunday, defying a ban on protests for the fourth day with chants of “down with dictatorship” and “reform the monarchy.”
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta chief the protesters search to oust, is worried concerning the spreading protests and the federal government desires to speak, his spokesman mentioned.
Demonstrations have endured regardless of the arrest of dozens of protesters and their leaders, using water cannon and shutdowns on a lot of Bangkok’s metro rail system in a bid to quell over three months of avenue motion.
“Free our associates”, the protesters known as out as they stood in a rain, a mass of vibrant ponchos and umbrellas. Some held up photos of detained protest leaders. Thai Attorneys for Human Rights mentioned at the very least 80 protesters had been arrested since Oct. 13 with 27 nonetheless being held. Police haven’t given an general quantity.
Prayuth’s spokesman mentioned the prime minister feared the protests, which have unfold throughout the nation of 70 million, could possibly be utilized by troublemakers looking for to instigate violence.
“The federal government desires to speak to discover a approach out collectively,” spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri advised Reuters. He didn’t specify with whom the federal government hoped to talk.
After the arrest of most of the protest leaders, beforehand unknown figures have emerged to steer crowds which organise by themselves.
Police made no instant steps to intervene as protesters took over Victory Monument and Asok, two of Bangkok’s most necessary transport hubs. Police mentioned there have been round 10,000 individuals at Victory Monument alone. A spokesman mentioned there was no plan to suppress the protest there.
Protesters say Prayuth engineered final yr’s election to maintain energy he seized in a 2014 coup – an accusation he denies.
MONARCHY IN FOCUS
The demonstrations have additionally grow to be extra overtly essential of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s monarchy, breaking a longstanding taboo, demanding curbs to its powers regardless of potential jail phrases of up 15 years for anybody insulting the king.
Throughout demonstrations by tens of 1000’s of individuals at a number of factors throughout Bangkok on Saturday, protesters painted a flag on the highway with “Republic of Thailand” written throughout it. The writing was painted out in a single day.
The Royal Palace has made no touch upon the protests.
The federal government banned demonstrations in Bangkok on Thursday.
Throughout Thailand, demonstrations had been being organised in at the very least 19 different provinces on Sunday. Solidarity protests had been additionally being held or deliberate in Taiwan, Denmark, Sweden, France, the USA and Canada.
Protesters, who’ve adopted the fast-paced ways of Hong Kong activists, stored police guessing about the place demonstrations can be held with a slew of social media posts.
Hyperlinks have grown between protesters in Thailand and Hong Kong in a so-called Milk Tea Alliance referring to drinks widespread in each locations. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted in help of Thai protesters.
“Their dedication for #Thailanddemocracy can’t be deterred,” he mentioned.