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Thousands rally against the Thai government over democratic calls

by Kenneth Basilio
Photo: Reuters

Thousands of Thai protestors rallied in Bangkok, carrying various democratic-toned calls against the government.

The mass mobilization was the first significant political movement organized by the protesters, as Thailand saw the end of most public pandemic-measures.

The Thai government pronounced that while public gatherings are forbidden, political mass movements are given an exception, provided that the demonstrations remain peaceful.

The demonstration, led mostly by youth groups, was organized at the Democracy Monument, located in Thailand’s capital city.

The demonstrators, rallying under one unified call of “We Will No Longer Tolerate”, demand that the government heed the populace’s call.

Thousands rally against the Thai government over democratic calls 1
Photo: Reuters

The demands are by the organizers are the rewriting of a new constitution, free elections, termination of repressive legislatures, and the disbandment of the House.

Leaders of the mobilizations decried:

“We want the government to do two things, Stop harassing people and dissolve the House because the government is utterly ineffective.”

“Besides, we’ve inherited a sinful legacy in the form of the 2017 constitution that prolongs the ruling power. So the third thing we need to do is to make a new one that truly belongs to the people.”

“The emergency decree has been used to control people. The more it continues to be abused without legitimacy, the less sacred it becomes.”

Thousands rally against the Thai government over democratic calls 2
Photo: Bangkok Post

The demonstrators also chanted:

“Prayut out!”

Thousands of the protestors were primarily led by the Student Union of Thailand and the Free Youth group.

Democratic activists warned the Thai government that they would further intensify the mass movements, should the government fail to heed its calls.

Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers were stationed at the protest area, aiding to keep the demonstration’s peace.

Thousands rally against the Thai government over democratic calls 4
Photo: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights

As the program went on, the demonstrators decided to push back on the metal barrier meant to prevent the crowd from flowing into the streets.

Police officers held on the barrier, pushing back the protestors; after a little while, the police decidedly backed off. The police-protestor commotion ended with no complications.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau Commissioner, Pol Lt. Gen. Phakkhaphong Phongphetra, directly went to the protest area to personally oversee and command the police officials stationed there.

Pol Col. Kissana Phathanacharoen, Royal Thai Police deputy spokesperson, said:

“Expressions of different political views are permissible as long as they do not violate the laws or other people’s rights.”

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Photo: Twitter/Tula@cliche_t

The protests against the current Thai government had since drawn support, citing democratic reasons.

The storm of the democratic call rallies incubated under a drawn-out struggle with the Thai government:

The developments of the Thai demonstrations are outlined under:

May 22, 2014

General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Royal Thai Army commandant, conducted a coup d ‘état against the Shinawatra administration. The military usurpation of power formed the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) tasked to lead the country.

July 22, 2014

The sitting government legislated an interim constitution.

August 21, 2014

Army Commander Prayut Chan-o-cha is appointed as the Thailand Prime Minister, elected by the junta legislature.

January 2015

Thai Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) began drafting a new constitution. However, it was eventually pulled out by the junta.

March 29, 2016

The Thai military junta unveils a new draft constitution.

August 7, 2016

A referendum was held by the government to approve the new constitution earlier unveiled. The results of the referendum reflected a 61.4% approval vote.

April 6, 2017

The new constitution was finally ratified after six changes.

March 24, 2019

Thailand conducts its first general election since the 2014 military usurpation. Prayut Chan-o-cha emerges as the winning PM candidate.

December 14, 2019

Thousands have organized a rally against the conducted elections, citing irregularities and vote-buying allegations against the pro-military government.

January 14, 2020

Following a series of demonstrations against the Thai government, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha states that rallies are a “waste of time.”

June 4, 2020

Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a prominent Thai activist, disappears in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Other political and societal activists also started vanishing since the Chan-o-cha administration.

July 19, 2020

Amidst covid-19, thousands have rallied against the incumbent Thai government, citing the seated authorities’ fascistic tendencies.

Source: The Guardian & Bangkok Post