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Thousands of protesters demand monarchy reform, release of jailed leaders

Thousands of protesters demand monarchy reform, release of jailed leaders

BANGKOK: Thousands of demonstrators occupied Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok on Wednesday demanding reform of the monarchy and the release of detained leaders.


By Chiang Mai Post

Thursday 25 March 2021, 08:43AM


Protesters occupy Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok during a rally pressing for the release of their detained leaders. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill / Bangkok Post

Protesters occupy Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok during a rally pressing for the release of their detained leaders. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill / Bangkok Post

Earlier, the  United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration posted a Facebook message urging a peaceful rally, days after one of the most violent demonstrations since they began last year, reports the Bangkok Post.

More than 30 civilians and police were injured in a clash at a protest near the palace on Saturday, after police used water cannon, teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the rally.

The protesters have also demanded curbs to the power of His Majesty the King and the abolition of a strict lese majeste law that mandates up to 15 years in prison for insulting the monarchy.

Protesters on Wednesday peacefully occupied Ratchaprasong, one of Bangkok’s busiest street intersections, and cheered as some leaders demanded monarchy reforms and called for their "friends" to be freed from jail.

"Ploy pheuan rao" (free our friends)," they shouted.

"This is a long and tiring fight. We must fight together along this path to democracy," Attapon Buapat, who was indicted for lese majeste earlier this month but later released on bail, told the crowd.

"Change has begun. They could only slow it down but never stop it."

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Criminal cases have been mounting against protest leaders. The most prominent ones have already been jailed pending trial for insulting the royalty.

More activists, including Mr Attapon again, could be indicted on Thursday when they were due to meet with prosecutors over their roles in the protests.

Prosecutors have called a total of 13 pro-democracy protesters, including Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon, to appear at the South Bangkok Criminal Court in a case based on a rally outside the German embassy on Oct 26.

The leaders could face lese majeste and sedition charges.

The indictment planned for Thursday may be delayed if the compilation of evidence against the protesters has not been completed.

Thailand’s youth protest movement emerged last year and has posed the biggest challenge to the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the former army chief who seized power in 2014 from an elected government.

The Royal Palace has not commented directly on the protests. The government has said criticism of the king is unlawful and inappropriate.

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Kurt | 28 March 2021 - 10:54:27

Are protesters demanding a Monarchy reform to have it like in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain?

Kurt | 25 March 2021 - 20:43:33

@ Hi Foot, yes, about that 'at least 50% before Covid-19', I know. But now there will be even more hesitation to go for holiday to Thailand.

Foot | 25 March 2021 - 16:22:18

@Kurt: Western tourism had already declined at least 50% in Phuket before Covid. All these outsiders with ideas are not desired. If you lived here, you would know this, Kurt.

Kurt | 25 March 2021 - 11:21:55

PM General Prayut, former Army Chief, now Minister of Defense,  seized power from a elected Government in 2014, must understand that many western tourists will not go Thailand for holidays. Myanmar and Thailand this moment, in the eyes of westerners:  Democracy wise "Same-Same, But Different". Much of the time Thailand is negative world news. Regimental treatment tourists, scams, discrim...

Kurt | 25 March 2021 - 10:29:15

The spirit is out of the bottle. More and more Thai people demand reforms in many fields in Thailand. As long a small group of rich and influential people block the road for a Thai democratic country, that long Thailand's image will remain damaged in the eyes of the free world. Also internal, spiritual and economical.

 

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