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World Thai PM Offers to Lift Emergency as Thousands Protest in Capital

03:50  22 october  2020
03:50  22 october  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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Embattled Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has promised to lift the state of emergency in Bangkok to defuse tensions with protesters , but it Demonstrators line up as they march near the Government House during an anti-government protest in Bangkok. © Reuters / Athit Perawongmetha.

Thailand ’s prime minister has said he may lift severe emergency measures that were imposed last week to halt months of pro -democracy protests but which have instead sparked On Friday, police fired water cannon to disperse thousands of people gathered in the capital , including school students.

(Bloomberg) -- Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said his government is prepared to withdraw emergency rules banning large gatherings in the capital if the mounting protests demanding his ouster and monarchy reforms remain peaceful.

The apparent olive branch came as thousands of defiant protesters marched toward the prime minister’s office known as the Government House in Bangkok on Wednesday after breaking through police barricades and barbed wire. They set a deadline of three days for Prayuth to quit and sought the immediate release of activists detained by the police.

Simultaneous rallies by pro-royalist groups in support of King Maha Vajiralongkorn also raised fears of clashes between the rival groups.

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Thai protesters continue rallies in Bangkok amid state of emergency . Despite the emergency decree, which bans gatherings of more than four people and restricts media coverage, thousands have defied the law to participate in the sweeping pro -democracy movement taking place in the capital

Several thousand anti-government protesters rallied in Thailand ’s capital on Saturday to call for a new constitution, new elections and an end to repressive laws. Chanting and waving placards, the demonstrators, comprising mainly young Thais , converged on Bangkok’s iconic Democracy

“I will make the first move to de-escalate this situation,” Prayuth said in an address to the nation. “I am currently preparing to lift the state of severe emergency in Bangkok and will do so promptly if there are no violent incidents.”

READ: Why Protesters Are Back on the Streets in Thailand

Prayuth urged the protesters to trust the parliamentary process to address their grievances during a special session next week and said the government and the activists should “each take a step back” and “find solutions to the problems.” The king endorsed the session to be held from Oct. 26, according to a Royal Gazette notification Wednesday.

“The only way to a lasting solution for all sides that is fair for those on the streets as well as for the many millions who choose not to go on the streets, is to discuss and resolve these differences through the parliamentary process,” the prime minister said.

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.

Thai protest leaders play cat and mouse with police as thousands rally. Thousands of protesters have massed in the capital daily for demonstrations, flouting a The media outlets allegedly published and broadcast material that “violated computer crimes laws and the emergency decree”, according to

Tens of thousands of mostly young protesters have taken to the streets in the past week in defiance of an emergency Police said around 20,000 people protested across the capital Sunday, although activists and local Thai pro -democracy protests continue for fourth day under state of emergency .

Breaking Taboos

Protests have swept Bangkok in the past week in defiance of the ban on gatherings and the threat of crackdowns by the police. Similar gatherings were also held in several cities across Thailand. They have broken long-held taboos about publicly criticizing the royal family and questioned laws that stifle discussion of the monarchy.

The youth-led protesters are calling for the resignation of Prayuth’s government and a rewriting of the constitution, which was drafted by a military-appointed panel after the premier, a former army chief, took power in a 2014 coup. The activists say the charter was instrumental in helping Prayuth retain power after the 2019 elections.

“The only sure way to achieve a sustainable, enduring resolution to the problems is to speak to each other, respect the due process of law, and then let the will of the people be resolved in parliament,” Prayuth said. “That is the only way.”

"Their voice is capital", Thai celebrities break the silence

 © Provided by Le Point K-pop superstar, beauty queens and television personalities are among the more and more celebrities to make their voices heard in support of the Thai pro-democracy movement. In this kingdom, stars rarely speak of their political opinions, their financial gains depending on the billionaires who are one of the pillars of the country's establishment.

Tens of thousands of pro -democracy protesters gathered again in the Thai capital Bangkok on Thursday in mass defiance of the In the early hours of Thursday morning, the government had attempted to curtail the student-led protest movement by issuing an emergency decree banning

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Friday he was considering ending the emergency rule imposed this week after it failed to lead to the eviction Samak put the army commander in charge of keeping order in the capital after long-running anti-government protests culminated in violent clashes

a view of a city street filled with traffic at night: Pro-Democracy Protests Continue Across Thailand © Getty Images via Bloomberg Pro-Democracy Protests Continue Across Thailand

Protesters march to Government House in Bangkok on Oct. 21.

Photographer: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

READ: Thai Protesters Are Using Emojis to Stay Ahead of Police

The prime minister said it was time to break the cycle of government leaders having to face mobs of opposing groups to prevent the country from becoming ungovernable and descending into chaos.

The protests are underpinned by years of sluggish growth now exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has put the Thai economy on course for its worst performance ever by derailing the two main drivers: tourism and trade. The benchmark SET Index of stocks has lost 23% this year.

(Updates in second paragraph)

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