Anti-government Protesters have vowed the won’t stop until Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha steps down as prime minister in Thailand. The anti-government Protesters are also calling for a new constitution to be drafted.
Anti-government protesters have besieged Government House in Bangkok. They have threatened to camp out there until Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha quits office.
Their sit-in has scuppered the government’s plan to receive Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Government House Thursday. He will probably be welcomed at the Defence Ministry or Ban Phitsanulok instead. Mr Wang is visiting the kingdom to bolster cooperation between the two countries and will meet with Gen Prayut today.
Anti-government protest leaders announced last night that they would camp out in front of Government House until Gen Prayut resigns. Their two other key demands are for parliament to hold an urgent special session to deliberate charter amendments and above all reform Thailand’s monarchy.
After more than 10 hours of marching which police tried unsuccessfully to block, the anti-government protesters set up camp on Phitsanulok Road outside Government House Wednesday evening .
Huge numbers of Anti-government protesters
The number of anti-government protesters was estimated at over 20,000, according to journalists covering the event. During the day the protesters occupied Phitsanulok Road from the Misakawan intersection and Chamai Maruchet Bridge all the way to Nang Loeng intersection.
Police declared they would not allow the protesters to enter the nearby Royal Plaza and, as the Bangkok Post was going to press last night, they were still ordering protesters through loudspeakers to head home by 10pm in order to comply with the public assembly law. The police did not spell out what they would do if the protesters remained where they were.
One of the protest leaders, Parit — aka “Penguin” Chiwarak — claimed at least 200,000 people had attended the rally. Bangkok police tried to play down the numbers and reported them at only 8,000 people.
More than 14,000 police officers were deployed to maintain order, the Bangkok Post reports. The demonstration was organised by the People’s Group, formerly known as the Free People movement.
Long live democracy
Protesters began gathering at Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue Wednesday morning. They were led by human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa. A core member of the pro-democracy group.
This followed an announcement that the demonstration earlier planned to start at 2pm had been moved up to 8am following the arrest of 21 protesters near the Democracy Monument and Satriwithaya School on Tuesday afternoon.
The group began marching to Government House to press their three key demands — the departure of Gen Prayut, a new constitution and monarchy reform — but were halted by police barricades.
“Down with dictatorship. Long live democracy,” the marchers chanted as they left Democracy Monument, where they had assembled. and came face to face with thousands of royalists.
The protesters walked from the Democracy Monument to Government House via Nakhon Sawan Road as security authorities blocked them from marching down Ratchadamneon Nok Avenue, which was being prepared for Wednesday’s royal motorcade. Mr Arnon and other protest leaders promised there would be no violence during the rally.
Royalists had gathered along Ratchadamnoen Avenue, waiting for the motorcade of His Majesty the King, who was scheduled to go to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace in the afternoon for the graduation ceremony of monks and novices who had completed Pali studies.
The yellow-clad royalists dispersed after the royal motorcade had passed.
The protesters were also blocked by four police buses at the end of Nakhon Sawan Road. Those in the front line started trying to push one of the buses out of the way. Their leaders told them to stop and to show restraint.
They then sat down along Nakhon Sawan Road and waited for their leaders’ next move. Police later removed the buses and allowed them to move on to the Nang Loeng intersection,.
About the same time, the royal motorcade of Her Majesty the Queen passed along Phitsanulok Road. Which was cordoned off by security officers to stop protesters. Their only gesture was to defiantly flash the three-finger salute as the motorcade passed.
Royal motorcade of His Majesty the King
Her Majesty, representing His Majesty the King and accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti was to offer robes to monks as part of a kathin ceremony at Wat Arun Ratchawararam and Wat Ratcha Orasaram.
Deputy police spokesman Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen said Wednesday that police would try to contain the protesters. Whose numbers he estimated at 8,000.
Pol Col Kissana urged the public to avoid the routes occupied by the protesters, whom he urged to comply with the law and not violate other people’s rights.
Suthep Thaugsuban, former protest leader of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee, was among the royalists who waited for the royal motorcade of His Majesty the King.
He said he joined other Thais to show loyalty to the monarchy. He but denied mobilizing royalist supporters to counter the anti-government protesters. – Bangkok Post