Thai protests: Tens of thousands protest across Thailand in defiance of ban

From Global News.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in a wave of protests across Bangkok and other Thai cities on Saturday in defiance of a government crackdown following three months of demonstrations aimed at the prime minister and monarchy.

Many protesters said they had been stirred into action by the police’s use of water cannons on Friday to disperse thousands of youth-led protesters who included many children.

Police attempts to thwart protesters by shutting down Bangkok’s public transport network backfired when it led to localized protests across the city involving three main centres and several other smaller demonstrations. There were demonstrations in at least six cities outside Bangkok too.

Police did not intervene, and the protests dispersed after several hours.
Protesters demand the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former military ruler. They have also become openly critical of King Maha Vajiralongkorn despite lèse-majesté laws that can mean 15 years in jail for insulting the monarchy.

The king and queen spend most of their time in Europe and are on their longest visit to Thailand this year.

The king is mostly resident in Germany, and a German diplomat said the government was closely monitoring political developments in Thailand.
On Thursday, the government banned all political gatherings of five or more people. Police have arrested more than 50 people – including several protest leaders – in the past week.


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