A group of democracy campaigners in Thailand yesterday said it plans to hold more public protests, despite threat of arrests, to demand the military government not delay a general election scheduled for November.
The junta has promised and postponed elections several times since it came to power following a coup in 2014, with the latest date being set for November.
However, a change to the election law by the military-appointed legislature last month means that the election will likely be pushed back to early next year.
That sparked a series of small anti-junta, pro-election protests that is gaining momentum in recent weeks, with demonstrations taking place in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen.
The Democracy Restoration Group says it now wants to hold a series of pro-election demonstrations starting today in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, followed by a protest in Bangkok on Saturday next week.
The group also announced plans to hold further protests on March 10 and 24, as well as on every Saturday in May, leading to a large gathering that is to take place over several days, from May 19 to 22, marking the four-year anniversary of the 2014 coup.
“We will make May the month for all Thais to think about election and think about how our country should move forward,” democracy advocate Rangsiman Rome told reporters at a news conference.
Junta spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said the government is not concerned by the planned protests and will rely on the police to maintain peace and order.
“If the protest disturbs others, then it will be up to the police to respond according to the law,” Winthai said.
Earlier this week, the junta lodged a lawsuit against seven Democracy Restoration Group members for inciting unrest and 43 protesters for illegal gathering after last Saturday’s pro-election protest by hundreds of people at Democracy Monument in Bangkok.
The Lawyers Association of Thailand on Friday said that seven leading activists were charged with sedition and 43 others with violating a ban on political assembly for last Saturday’s demonstration, in which 400 people participated.
They were charged earlier this week, but as of Friday morning there had been no public announcement and at least some of those charged had not been notified.
Additional reporting by AP
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged