They defy govt. ban on gatherings for third consecutive day
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in a wave of protests across Bangkok and other Thai cities on Saturday in defiance of a government crackdown following three months of demonstrations aimed at the Prime Minister and monarchy.
Many protesters said they had been stirred into action by the police’s use of water cannon on Friday to disperse thousands of youth-led protesters who included many children.
“It was way over the line. We want to show them our power and that we cant accept this,” said Tang, a 27-year-old office worker among thousands of people who gathered at the Lat Phrao station in the capital city Bangkok.
Police attempts to thwart protesters by shutting down Bangkok’s public transport network backfired when it led to localised protests across the city involving three main centres and several other smaller demonstrations. There were demonstrations in at least six cities outside Bangkok too.
Police did not intervene, and the protests dispersed after several hours. “We will primarily negotiate,” police spokesman Yingyos Thepjamnong told a news conference. “Enforcing the law will be step by step, using methods that follow international standards.”
PM’s removal sought
Protesters demand the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former military ruler. They have also become openly critical of King Maha Vajiralongkorn despite lese majeste laws that can mean 15 years in jail for insulting the monarchy.
On Thursday, the government banned all political gatherings of five or more people. Police have arrested more than 50 people in the past week.