Conflicts & War

Thai democracy movement slates fresh demos, ultimatum for PM departure passes

Bangkok, Oct 25 (efe-epa).- The student-led pro-democracy movement in Thailand is organizing fresh protests on Monday after an ultimatum from activists calling for prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha to step down expired over the weekend.

The Free Youth activist group, behind a number of large protests in recent months, announced the rally on social media.

Protesters are scheduled to march to the German embassy — as Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn spends most of his time in the European country.

Well-known activist Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa called for a protest to take place on Sunday at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok’s financial district.

Pai had joined hundreds of other demonstrators outside the capital’s central prison, where they were demanding the release of eight anti-government protesters.

The protest slated for Monday will coincide with the first day of an extraordinary session in parliament where lawmakers are to discuss the pro-democracy movement, which has been organizing regular peaceful protests since July.

The main demand of the student movement is the resignation of the government, headed by Prayut, and a new constitution, since the current one was drawn up by the old military junta (2014 -2019), in addition to reducing the influence of the army in politics.

However, the boldest and most controversial demand from students and their supporters is for a reform of the monarchy.

This has been a taboo subject until recently, due to the great respect and fear of the institution as well as the harsh lese majeste law, which gives up to 15 years in prison for those who criticize the crown.

King Vajiralongkorn, who lived in Bavaria most of the year, does not enjoy the same widespread popular support as his father Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned from 1946 until his death in 2016. EFE-EPA

csg/jt/ah

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