World News – CA – Thai protesters ready to defy ban with rallies outside Bangkok


(Bloomberg) – Anti-government protesters plan to defy rally ban in Thai capital for third day and hold rallies across the nation, stepping up three-month-old movement in favor of the reform of the monarchy and a greater democracy

Pro-democracy protesters will return to stage a protest in Bangkok later today after tens of thousands defied an emergency declared Thursday by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha to quell escalating demonstrations Parit Chiwarak, arrested Wednesday at the protest near the prime minister’s office, urged his supporters to « continue organizing protests » until their demands are met

Protesters shouting « Prayuth get out » occupied the Ratchaprasong intersection in the middle of Bangkok’s main shopping district for several hours on Thursday, demanding the release of leaders arrested by police in a morning raid Crowds swelled throughout of the evening before dispersing around 10 pm

Large crowds say protests are unlikely to subside despite the arrest of key leaders and the government’s decision to ban gatherings of five or more people Growing protests have weighed on currency and country’s stocks, with foreign investors turning net sellers of $ 10 billion so far this year As the baht heads for the first weekly loss in three, the SET benchmark of equities slipped 24% over of the last two sessions

« We believe the baht will likely underperform its regional peers in the near term, given the ongoing protests, » said Irene Cheung, currency strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Singapore

The protests, initially led mostly by students, broke taboos over public criticism of the royal family, which sits at the top of power in Thailand Protesters called into question taxpayer funds for royal affairs as well that the laws which stifle the discussion on the monarchy

Thursday night’s protest came a day after tens of thousands of protesters crossed police lines on a march towards Government House, Prayuth’s office, in an escalation of the movement that began in early July Some protesters greeted with three fingers – a symbol of the protests – a procession of Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, who smiled and waved at them

Among those arrested were Arnon Nampa and Parit, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Parit had written a statement calling for reform of the monarchy with 10 demands, including banning the king from approving any coup and repealing laws that criminalize insults against King Maha Vajiralongkorn and key members of the royal family

On Friday, Parit called on his supporters to organize protests in « several places around Bangkok and in every province » of the country In a letter from his prison, he told activists not to spend the night so that the group can be more flexible to organize events every day

The site of Thursday night’s protests, outside the Central World shopping center, was the scene of protests in 2010 that ended with a demining operation in which dozens were killed. took place in Hat Yai, Songkhla in southern Thailand and Chiang Mai, according to local media

Protesters also call for the resignation of Prayuth, a former army chief who staged a coup in 2014 They are pushing to rewrite the constitution drafted by a panel appointed by the military who helped him to stay after last year’s election The government has said it is open to changes in some areas, but a constitutional rewrite process has been delayed in parliament

Prayuth said the government was ready to open public forums for protesters « but everything must be done within the law ‘The majority will have to listen to the minority, and the minority will also have to respect different opinions,’ he said in a statement

A special cabinet meeting on Friday is expected to approve the emergency decree The latest measures add to a national emergency in place since the end of March to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, which allows the government to enforce mandatory quarantines and streamline disease control plans without multiple approvals

The protests have gathered momentum amid the worst economic crisis facing this tourism and trade-dependent country, which has adopted a $ 60 billion stimulus package to tackle the crisis caused by the pandemic The emergency could also harm the government’s plan to gradually reopen tourism to foreign visitors from this month

« State of emergency is likely to fuel the movement that is already gaining momentum, » said Punchada Sirivunnabood, associate professor of politics at Mahidol University near Bangkok « The demonstrators will probably continue their movement because they are unhappy that the government is not listening to their demand »

Protest, Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, Bangkok

News from around the world – CA – Thai protesters ready to challenge ban with rallies outside Bangkok



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