Conflicts & War

Pro-democracy demonstrations continue to challenge Thai government

(Update: changes headline, 1st paragraph, adds details of protests)

Bangkok, Oct 18 (efe-epa).- Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Bangkok on Sunday for the fifth consecutive day demanding democratic reforms and a change of government.

Police ordered the closure of at least 20 stations in the capital’s public transport network in an unsuccessful bid to prevent another day of mass protests.

Authorities also ordered the closure of almost the entire public transport system in the city on Saturday under a state of emergency imposed by the government on Thursday.

Officials justified the closures “to maintain the security” of the state and its people in the face of “disruption” caused by the rallies.

Organizers again managed to circumnavigate the police blockade to hold a peaceful protest that was coordinated on social media.

“If you close the city, we’re going to the outskirts. If you close the suburbs, we go to the city. You’ve messed with the wrong generation,” protest group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration said online.

Activists carried posters bearing the face of leaders arrested during the movement and demanded their freedom.

They chanted anti-government slogans and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, who led a military coup d’état of 2014 and retained power through a controversial election in 2019.

Demonstrations took place without incident on Sunday with the crowd forming a lane to make way for ambulances to reach a nearby hospital on several occasions.

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