Thailand – They demonstrate again by the thousands in Bangkok

In the aftermath of the violent demonstrations, where several people were wounded by bullets, they were mobilized in the center of Bangkok.

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators remained gathered Wednesday evening in central Bangkok in the aftermath of clashes with the police and ultra-royalists in which six demonstrators were wounded by gunshot.

“You must be the king of the people!”, “Freedom!” have tagged on the asphalt of one of the major commercial arteries of the capital of the protesters while the movement is showing itself more and more virulent against the monarchy, a taboo there is still little in the kingdom.

“Tonight is our first victory, that of freedom of expression,” said Luke, 29, one of the graffiti artists, to AFP. “I did not think that would ever happen in my country” where any criticism of the monarch and his family can be considered a crime of lese majesty, punishable by many years in prison.

Several protesters were shot and wounded Tuesday in Bangkok.

AFP

The rally gathered some 20,000 demonstrators in the early evening, according to an AFP estimate.

Several thousand of them – some wearing shields, helmets and gas masks – were massed in front of the police headquarters, protected by dump trucks, concrete blocks and barbed wire.

Some threw projectiles at the wall of the building, while others used water guns to spray paint inside the compound.

Control over royal fortune

Earlier, national police spokesman Yingyos Thepjamnong warned protesters not to approach the building, adding that more than 2,000 police officers had been deployed to guard it.

The movement, in the street since the summer, calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha resulting from a coup in 2014 and a rewriting of the Constitution, considered too favorable to the army.

Above all, he calls for the abolition of the lese majesté law, control over the royal fortune and the sovereign’s non-interference in political affairs.

“Young people were injured yesterday, it’s not fair, they just want democracy,” Daeng, a real estate developer, worried about his 20-year-old daughter.

On Tuesday, riot police used water cannons and tear gas against protesters gathered near Parliament, where MPs and senators were debating possible constitutional reform.

Clashes also broke out between pro-democracy activists and ultra-royalist “yellow shirts”.

Constitutional reform?

A total of 55 people were injured, six of them by live ammunition, according to the Erawan Emergency Medical Center in Bangkok.

The origin of the shots remained unknown, the police denying having fired with live ammunition or even with rubber projectiles.

Investigations are underway and at least one ultra-royalist was injured by these shots, according to the police.

“We must not be afraid (…) keep fighting,” a student leader, Sirapop Poompuengpoot, perched on a truck on Wednesday told the crowd.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha urged protesters to refrain from violence.

Controversial personality

Parliament voted in the evening to decide which draft constitutional amendments it accepts to consider.

He rejected the one who opened the possibility of a reform of the royalty, just accepting the establishment of a constituent assembly.

The pro-democracy movement ensures that it wants to modernize the institution, but in no case does not wish to abolish it.

Ascended to the throne in 2016 upon the death of his father, the revered King Bhumibol, Maha Vajiralongkorn is a controversial figure.

In a few years, he strengthened his powers by taking direct control of the royal fortune. His frequent stays in Europe, when the country is in full recession since the coronavirus pandemic, also raised questions.

For several weeks, Maha Vajiralongkorn has not left the kingdom, going so far as to declare his “love” for all Thais.

AFP/NXP

Posted today at 15:46

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