Thailand’s capitol city Bangkok came alive again with more than 20,000 anti-government protesters defying the emergency decree. The anti-government protesters are calling for the Prime Ministers resignation.
About 20,000 anti-government protesters spread across three different locations in Bangkok. They dispersed peacefully on Saturday night, after a day in which authorities tried and failed to stop them. Authorities also shut down Bangkok’s rail mass-transit system in an effort to stop the protesters.
Bangkok Police largely kept their distance, in contrast to their aggressive dispersal operation on Friday. However they did arrest one of the few protest leaders who had escaped their grasp. An undercover officer armed with a warrant was seen leading Panupong “Mike” Jadnok away around 9pm.
It was reported that he was being taken to the Hua Mark police station.
The BTS, MRT, Airport Rail Link and bus routes resumed normal service at 8.30 pm. The demonstrators began to drift home from noisy but peaceful gatherings at Lat Phrao, Udom Suk-Bang Na and Wong Wian Yai.
Anti-government protesters out maneuvered police
While rumors spread about imminent crackdowns — at Lat Phrao some front-line demonstrators passed around hard hats — the police presence was minimal. That was in contrast to Friday night, when a riot squad used a water cannon to disperse a peaceful gathering of about 2,000 people.
The protesters are calling for the resignation of the government led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a new constitution and an end to state harassment of critics of the government. More controversially, some are also pressing for reform of the monarchy.
On Saturday the police were out maneuvered as members of the anti-government movement kept their plans a secret until the last possible minute. Authorities decided that Victory Monument and the Asok intersection. Authorities believed they were two likely spots, so they sealed off access completely. They were wrong on both accounts.
Police also thought that shutting down the entire rail mass-transit system would deter the protesters. “Wrong again.” All they did was anger and inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of commuters.
Protests throughout Thailand
The Metropolitan Police Bureau estimated there were 8,000 protesters at Lat Phrao, 8,000 at Wong Wian Yai, 6,000 at Udom Suk-Bang Na and 1,000 at another event at Ramkhamhaeng University.
Smaller gatherings also materialised at some other locations, including Samyan Mitrtown at Phaya Thai and Rama IV roads, and the Asok BTS station.
As well, UFTD said parallel rallies were to be held from 4pm to 6pm in 17 provinces: Ubon Thani; Nong Khai; Roi Et; Chon Buri (Pattaya); Nakhon Pathom; Phayao; Chiang Rai; Nakhon Sawan; Kalasin; Uttaradit; Trang; Udon Thani;Nakhon Ratchasima; Surin; Sakon Nakhon; Khon Kaen and also Songkhla, Thailand