Left Menu
Development News Edition

Protesters take over Bangkok streets in new show of defiance

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said at least 80 protesters had been arrested since Oct. 13 with 27 still being held. Police have given no full breakdown.

Reuters | Bangkok | Updated: 18-10-2020 16:56 IST | Created: 18-10-2020 16:40 IST
Protesters take over Bangkok streets in new show of defiance
Representative image

Thousands of Thai anti-government protesters took over key intersections in Bangkok on Sunday, defying a ban on protests for the fourth day with chants of "down with dictatorship" and "reform the monarchy."

Demonstrations have persisted despite the arrest of dozens of protesters and their leaders, the use of water cannon and shutdowns on much of Bangkok's metro rail system in a bid to quell over three months of street action. "Free our friends", the protesters called out as they stood in a rain, a mass of colourful ponchos and umbrellas. Some held up pictures of detained protest leaders. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said at least 80 protesters had been arrested since Oct. 13 with 27 still being held.

Police have given no full breakdown. They made no immediate steps to intervene as protesters took over Victory Monument and Asok, two of Bangkok's most important transport hubs. Police said there were around 10,000 people at Victory Monument alone. "We are committed to maintain peace and order. In order to do so we are bound by laws, international standards, human rights." police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen told a news conference.

Demonstrators nonetheless distributed helmets and goggles to protect them during any attempt to disperse them by force. Protesters say Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha engineered last year's election to keep power he seized in a 2014 coup - an accusation he denies.

The demonstrations have also become more openly critical of King Maha Vajiralongkorn's monarchy, breaking a longstanding taboo, demanding curbs to its powers despite potential jail terms of up 15 years for anyone insulting the king. During demonstrations by tens of thousands of people at multiple points across Bangkok on Saturday, protesters painted a flag on the road with "Republic of Thailand" written across it. The writing was painted out overnight.

The Royal Palace has made no comment on the protests. The government banned demonstrations in Bangkok on Thursday.

Across Thailand, demonstrations were being organised in at least 19 other provinces on Sunday. Solidarity protests were also being held or planned in Taiwan, Denmark, Sweden, France, the United States and Canada. Protesters, who have adopted the fast moving tactics of Hong Kong activists, kept police guessing about where demonstrations would be held with a slew of social media posts.

Links have grown between protesters in Thailand and Hong Kong in a so-called Milk Tea Alliance referring to drinks popular in both places. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted in support of Thai protesters. "Their determination for #Thailanddemocracy cannot be deterred," he said. (Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Raissa Kasolowsky)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Nord Stream 2 pipe-laying vessel nears project hub

Russian pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy, expected to be used to finish the Moscow-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, is heading towards the German project hub of Mukran, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Monday. According to the ship trackin...

Andre Russell, Faf du Plessus pull out from upcoming Lanka Premier League

Andre Russell and Faf du Plessis are among five top-foreign players who have withdrawn themselves from the upcoming Lanka Premier League LPL. David Miller, du Plessis and Dawid Malan have withdrawn themselves as these players will be in act...

SC stays MP HC order asking political parties to conduct virtual campaign for bypoll

The Supreme Court Monday stayed the Madhya Pradesh High Court order asking political parties to conduct their campaign for the November 3 Assembly bypolls virtually instead of holding physical rallies due to COVID-19. A bench headed by Ju...

Kamal Nath and Digvijaya 'biggest gaddars', not me; BJP will win majority of bypoll seats: Scindia

Accusing former chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh of being the biggest traitors in Madhya Pradesh, BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday said they betrayed voters trust by running a corrupt government and he had to leave th...

Give Feedback