Thousands of people took to the streets in Bangkok to protest the possible dissolution of the Future Forward party. The party and its leader have vocally challenged Gen. Prayuth’s military backed government. The protests were consequently the the largest demonstrations in the capital since a military coup in 2014.
The rally was called by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of the Future Forward party. Thanathorn has rallied opposition against the government of former military ruler Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Thai authorities recently asked the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Future Forward Party. Accusing it of receiving multi-million-dollar loans from Thanathorn, a 41-year-old billionaire.
Last month, the court disqualified Thanathorn as a member of parliament. Because he held shares in a media company on the date his candidacy was registered for the March election.
Outspoken opponent of Prayuth’s government
In the past few months, Thanathorn and his Future Forward Party have emerged as the most outspoken opponent of Prayuth’s government. The opposition claimed the polls were manipulated to favor the army-backed parties.
“This is just the beginning,” Thanathorn told protesters in Bangkok’s main shopping and business center.
“Today is a show of strength so that, in future, others may join us. We’re just here today as a test run. Prayuth, don’t be afraid yet. The real thing is next month,” he added, as the demonstrators chanted “Long live democracy, dictatorship get out.”
Thanathorn has signed a deal with six parties in an opposition alliance against the Junta’s constitutional changes.
Among the parties supporting the Bangkok rallies was Pheu Thai, which won the most seats in the 500-member House of Representatives.
Palang Pracharat, the pro-military party formed last year by members of the junta’s cabinet, told reporters on Friday it was inappropriate to organize a demonstration towards the end of the year.
Generals are pulling too many stings
Parties that have consequently backed the military won the popular vote in March by a narrow margin. However, anti-junta parties also claimed victory in the election.
The Pheu Thai party secured a majority in the in the lower house of parliament. It couldn’t form a government as it above all required the backing of the 250 military-loyal senators.
Meanwhile, experts also say that Thailand’s military generals are pulling too many stings. Controlling the election commission and influencing court decisions.
The March general election was also dogged by claims of irregularities in ballot counting as well as allegations of vote buying. Critics accused the electoral system revised by the junta of favoring pro-military parties.
Source: Deutsche Welle