Offbeat Thailand: the Prime Minister recoils in the face of the pro-democracy movement

11:55  22 october  2020
11:55  22 october  2020 Source:   pressfrom.com

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In Thailand , demonstrations against the military-backed government and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha have taken place, off and on, since February, interrupted by COVID-19 lockdowns until late July. On October 14, thousands of anti-government protestors rallied near Government House on the

The prime minister , Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first came to power in the 2014 coup, previously said that the king had not requested any prosecutions under the Pro - democracy protests led by students have swept across the country, with rallies taking place on an almost daily basis for more than a month.

Manifestation pro-démocratie à Bangkok, le 21 octobre 2020 © Jack TAYLOR Pro-democracy demonstration in Bangkok, October 21, 2020

The Thai Prime Minister backed down on Thursday in the face of the pro-democracy movement, which claims its head and a reform of the powerful monarchy, by lifting the “reinforced” state of emergency, a “victory” for the thousands of demonstrators in the street despite the ban on assembly.

The head of government, Prayut Chan-O-Cha, decided to lift the emergency decree as of noon Thursday (05:00 GMT), according to the Royal Gazette, the official organ of the palace.

The situation "has relaxed (...) now government officials and state agencies can apply ordinary laws," he said. "All exceptional measures (...) are lifted".

Thailand's unprecedented revolt pits the people against the King

  Thailand's unprecedented revolt pits the people against the King Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn is facing bold opposition from a new generation of young Thais who are pushing for monarchy reformThe royal mansion is where Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn was born and it's where, as Crown Prince, he accepted the formal invitation to the crown in 2016 following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which was four years ago on Tuesday.

Critics say the constitution unfairly allowed the prime minister , Prayuth Chan-o-cha, who first came to power during the 2014 coup, to win last year’s elections. Thailand ’s lèse-majesté laws are among the strictest in the world. Criticising the king can lead to a jail sentence of up to 15 years, though Prayuth

The growing pro - democracy movement has been calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha - the former army chief who Thailand 's lese-majeste law, which forbids insults to the monarchy, is among the strictest in the world. Those found guilty of breaching it face up to 15

In addition to banning gatherings of more than four people, the text gave the police carte blanche to make arrests and seize any electronic publication deemed "contrary to national security".

It was imposed on October 15 the day after incidents against Queen Suthida's procession, when pro-democracy activists raised three fingers in front of her car, a sign of defiance inspired by the movie "Hunger Games" and became a symbol of resistance in the kingdom.

Des policiers anti-émeutes entre deux vagues de manifestants pro-démocratie, à Bangkok le 21 octobre 2020 © Mladen ANTONOV Riot police between two waves of pro-democracy demonstrators, in Bangkok on October 21, 2020

But, since then, thousands of demonstrators, mostly young people, have defied the ban on assembly, organizing daily and simultaneous events in various places in the capital.

Thailand protests: Government announces emergency decree to quell pro-democracy demonstrations

  Thailand protests: Government announces emergency decree to quell pro-democracy demonstrations Thailand's government arrested several prominent protest leaders and announced a ban on gatherings of more than five people under an emergency decree Thursday aimed at quelling pro-democracy demonstrations that have gripped the country for more than three months. © Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Pro-democracy protesters seen pushing back Thai police during an anti-government demonstration on October 14, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. The decree, which came into effect in the capital Bangkok at 4 a.m.

Tens of thousands of pro - democracy protesters gathered again in the Thai capital Bangkok on Thursday in mass defiance of the government which had issued a decree The protest movement they have helped lead began by calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha - a

Protesters in Thailand on Wednesday gave the country's prime minister three days to step down after the government said it would consider scrapping an Those on the front line of the march wore hard line as they braced for a crackdown by security forces. Shortly after her statement, Patsaravalee, who

- "Losing face" -

Video: Received by Macron, the police unions satisfied with announcements to better protect them (AFP)

"The government turns around because it is notices that the old cogs no longer work, "said Christine Cabasset, researcher for the Institute for Research on Contemporary South-East Asia.

"He could not lose face any longer in the face of an ultra-determined youth who have not stopped fighting despite the arrest of most of their leaders. It is a victory for the movement which continues to consolidate his seat ".

The protest, which has been on the march since the summer, demands the resignation of the Prime Minister, a general brought to power by a coup in 2014 and legitimized by controversial elections last year.

He also asks for a revision of the Constitution, considered too favorable to the army and dares to demand a reform of the powerful and extremely wealthy monarchy, a taboo subject in the country not long ago.

Thailand protests: Government vows to protect the monarchy after weekend of unrest

  Thailand protests: Government vows to protect the monarchy after weekend of unrest Thailand's government has vowed to protect the monarchy after tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters rallied in Bangkok and other cities over the weekend, as calls for a new constitution and curbing the King's powers continue to grow.Demonstrators again defied an emergency decree banning public gatherings of more than five people and hit the streets en masse for a fifth straight day on Sunday, with about 10,000 people surrounding Bangkok's Victory Monument in the heart of the capital and blocking traffic around one of the city's main business centers.

Pro - democracy protesters have again defied a government order aimed at preventing demonstrations. Around 20 thousand people gathered in the streets of Bangkok for a peaceful rally where they demanded democratic shake ups to Thai society.

Thailand 's student movement has reignited, as young people across the country defy threats from the military-backed government to take to the streets and call for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn did not directly comment on the current events and simply said last week that Thailand "needs a people who love their country".

Prayut Chan-O-Cha had announced Wednesday night in a speech to the nation that he was preparing to lift the emergency decree.

I am taking "the first step to defuse the situation", he declared, calling on the protesters to resolve their differences through Parliament, which meets in extraordinary session from Monday to try to resolve the crisis.

At the same time, some 7,000 pro-democracy demonstrators gathered not far from the Government House, defying the decree for the seventh consecutive day.

Emergency measures, use of water cannons to disperse a demonstration, arrest of dozens of activists in recent days, including several headliners of the protest: nothing seems to be able to stop the wave of protest shaking the country.

For the moment, the government is "trying to buy time" with the lifting of the "reinforced" state of emergency. But, over time, this will not be enough to appease the dispute which will certainly not stop there, observed observers at AFP.

Protesters on Wednesday night issued a three-day ultimatum to Prayut Chan-O-Cha to resign, failing which they will return to the streets.

bur-sde / ia

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