Thousands of people have gathered at the campus of Thammasat University in Bangkok for a two-day protest demanding resignation of the Thai government and limitation of monarch's powers
BANGKOK (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th September, 2020) Thousands of people have gathered at the campus of Thammasat University in Bangkok for a two-day protest demanding resignation of the Thai government and limitation of monarch's powers.
Like before, protesters demand resignation of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, whom they consider a successor to the 2014-2019 military government. They also demand democratization of the country's constitution and, recently, a reform of the king's rule which, according to the protesting students, cedes being a constitutional monarchy.
They demand, in particular, that the law criminalizing insults of the royal family be abandoned. Each such insult is currently punishable with up to 15 years behind bars.
The largest protest so far was the one that took place on August 16, when close to 20,000 people gathered on the square of the Democracy Monument in downtown Bangkok. That rally attracted not only students but also older people from across the Thai capital and nearby provinces.
The administration of the Thammasat University initially refused to authorize the current rally in the school's premises, but succumbed to the protester's threats to force their way into the campus. Trucks are now parked at the campus with web cams broadcasting the developments on social media. The number of participants has reached around 5,000-6,000 at this point.
Organizers of the rally expect to gather up to 50,000 participants. The plan is to move the protest from the university campus to the nearby Sanam Luang square in front of the royal palace once the number of participants surpasses 12,000. A big stage with a powerful sound equipment will be installed on the square at around 8 p.m. Bangkok time (13:00 GMT), according to the plan.
Protesters plan to stay on the square overnight, listening to addresses of their political leaders and performances of loyal musicians. On the morning of Sunday, they plan to convey their demands to the government on a list containing 10 points, with their details kept secret at this point. They have not so far disclosed which government institution they chose to march to to submit their demands.
It was initially supposed to be the Government House, where the cabinet of ministers sits, a few miles away from the Thammasat campus, but Chan-o-cha ordered to reinforce the building earlier this week, albeit he pledged to not obstruct the rally.
Three Thai police detachments have been deployed at the Government House's inner premises since Friday, while the outer perimeter is guarded by officers of Bangkok police. According to local media reports, the officers are equipped with crowd control tools, such as water guns and tear gas grenades.