Thai protesters vow new demonstration despite crackdown

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Thai protesters held another demonstration despite a crackdown by police on more than three months of protests.
  • These protests have targeted the powerful monarchy in the contemporary era as well as the government.
  • Government asked protesters to 'not gather and remain peaceful' before moving for a total ban on protests.


Thai protesters said they would hold another demonstration on Saturday despite a crackdown by police on more than three months of protests that have targeted the powerful monarchy as well as the government.

Police used water cannon on protesters for the first time on Friday. They have arrested more than 50 people - including protest leaders - in the past week.

"We condemn any violence against the people," the People's Movement said in a statement. "We will continue to protest on 17 October", it said, telling people to be ready for the police to use suppression tactics.

It said the protest would begin at 16:00 but did not say where.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri told Reuters: "There is no win or lose for any side. It's all damage to the country. The government would like to ask protesters to not gather and remain peaceful."

On Thursday, it ordered a ban on protests which have become the biggest challenge in years to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, and have brought unprecedented criticism of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

READ | Thai protesters dare to challenge the untouchable monarchy, mocking their king who hides in Germany

Immediately after the ban, tens of thousands of people protested in Bangkok in defiance. Thousands more rallied on Friday.

Police said that their response to Friday's protest had been proportionate and in line with international norms.

Three protesters and four police personnel were hurt on Friday, said the Erawan Medical Center, an emergency response unit in Bangkok.

Human rights groups condemned the government measures.

"Concerned governments and the United Nations should speak out publicly to demand an immediate end to political repression by the Prayuth administration," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

Protesters demand the removal of Prayuth, who first took power in a 2014 coup. He rejects protesters' accusations that he engineered last year's election to keep power. Breaking a longstanding taboo, protesters have also called for curbs on the power of the monarchy.

ALSO READ | Thailand's playboy king has taken back his royal consort and restored all her military ranks after purging her for disloyalty last year

The Royal Palace has made no comment on the protests but the king said Thailand needed people who love the country and the monarchy. His comments were broadcast on state television on Friday as police clashed with protesters in Bangkok.

The scenes of water cannon and protesters pushing back with umbrellas were similar to images from anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong, with which Thai activists make common cause.

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted a picture of himself giving the three-finger salute of Thai campaigners and holding up a #StandWithThailand hashtag.

"People should not be afraid of their governments," he said. "Only governments should be afraid of their people." (Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Until the matric exams are over, my family is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Self-isolating to ensure we don't miss any exams
13% - 203 votes
Following Covid-19 safety protocols, but still going out like normal
54% - 825 votes
Business as usual, we're not worried about the virus
33% - 506 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.23
(+0.67)
ZAR/GBP
21.02
(+0.59)
ZAR/EUR
18.90
(+1.01)
ZAR/AUD
11.40
(+0.88)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.82)
Gold
1877.90
(+0.05)
Silver
23.62
(+0.11)
Platinum
844.50
(+0.39)
Brent Crude
37.86
(-0.84)
Palladium
2204.58
(+0.60)
All Share
51684.70
(-0.41)
Top 40
47472.92
(-0.22)
Financial 15
9459.76
(-3.04)
Industrial 25
73439.58
(+1.04)
Resource 10
47245.91
(-1.21)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo