Wednesday, January 27

Thailand: thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok

Some 5,000 demonstrators gathered under a road bridge in the north of the capital, carrying Santa Claus and large inflatable yellow ducks, which have become a symbol of the movement.

The protesters demand the resignation of the Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a rewrite of the Constitution deemed too favorable to the army as well as a reform of the royalty.

General Prayut, who came to power in a coup in 2014, this week ruled out the possibility of being ousted from power or the possibility of the imposition of martial law.

Among the protesters, Natalie, 32, who works in the service sector in Bangkok, believes the latest coup that brought General Prayut to power has been disastrous for Thailand and fears a repeat of a similar scenario.

It is a time of crisis today for Bangkok and Thailand. I want new elections, a new prime minister and a new government that really listens to the people“, at-elle dit à l’AFP.

The protesters passed large inflatable pool ducks over their heads to symbolize the military who they believe are going over the people to dominate political life in Thailand.

Another group carried portraits of generals who carried out coups d’état in the past, before burning them.

Army chief Narongphan Jittkaewtae dismissed rumors of the coup claiming that the chances of another coup were “less than zero“.

The political scientist Titipol Phakdeewanich of Ubon Ratchathani University considers the possibility of a putsch unlikely.

I don’t think he (General Prayut) gets kicked out because he still has strong support from the Tories … and big business“, he declared to the AFP.

Since Thailand became a democracy in 1932, around ten coups d’état have taken place in the country. Rumors about the possibility of another coup have been circulating since the pro-democracy movement began in July.

Several thousand demonstrators on Wednesday called on the king to relinquish his control over the royal fortune, valued at tens of billions of dollars.

Next week, a constitutional court is due to decide whether General Prayut is breaking the law by residing in a house belonging to the military. If he loses, the head of government could be forced to resign.





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