Thais Resume Protests As Prime Minister Refuses To Resign

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Protesters gathered in Bangkok to beef up pressure on the government a day before a special parliamentary session will resume to work on easing political tensions.

Protests took place on Sunday at the busy Rajprasong intersection in the heart of the capital’s shopping district, which usually draws large crowds on weekends.

Demonstrations were announced on Saturday evening after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ignored a deadline from protesters to step down.

The main demands of the demonstrators include a more democratic constitution and reform of the monarchy.

Public criticism of the monarchy is unprecedented in a country where royal institutions are considered sacred.

Protesters accuse Prayuth, who led a coup in 2014 as a military commander, of having returned to power erroneously in last year’s general elections when laws were changed to support pro-military parties.

The protesters also say that the constitution, which was written and passed under military rule, is undemocratic.

The Prime Minister’s government has called for a parliamentary session which is expected to start Monday and last for two days to defuse weeks of nearly daily protests.

Prayuth also lifted the state of emergency he had imposed a week earlier which made illegal protests.

The protesters were not impressed by his efforts to calm them down. They said his efforts were not sincere.

A pro-democracy protester holds a sign with the image of Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha urging him leave office at an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 25, 2020, as activists continued their calls for his resignation. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

Some noted on social media that the issues the government raised for discussion were not meant to address the protesters’ concerns, but were subtle criticisms of the protests themselves.

Protest organizers called a match scheduled for Monday afternoon. They will match to the German embassy in central Bangkok, away from the parliament house on the outskirts of the city.

The march was apparently intended to draw attention to protesters’ claims that King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been spending too much time in Germany.

 

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