BANGKOK, Thailand — Thai activists hoping to maintain the momentum in their effort for democratic change established a third significant rally in Bangkok on Wednesday, amid worries about potential confrontations with authorities or equal groups supporting the authorities.
Strategies for the rally in Bangkok’s Democracy Monument are complicated by King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s responsibilities, including him being pushed around the demonstration place to attend a royal service.
The demonstration leaders said they’ll make sense for the king, and authorities said they’re convinced they could control the audiences. Nonetheless, there’s a chance that protesters, broadly regarded as unsympathetic to the king, could at a minimum reveal public disrespect to the crown.
The king left a similar driveway on Tuesday after authorities cleared tents put up close to the monument and detained 21 people on small charges.
While the rally was scheduled to start at 2 pm, organizers issued a post-midnight call for followers to begin turning up a.m. to ensure they could fasten the place.
The area has been blanketed with authorities, stationed in an organized fashion but wearing yellow shirts rather than regular uniforms. Yellow shirts are a sign of loyalty to the monarchy, and firmly related to conservative politics.
The protesters have said that they intend to march to Government House — that the office of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha — and then encircle it for at least a night.
“We must struggle,” said college student Kanokwan Kawkaew, 20. “If we do not fight, we’ll lose again.”
The audiences at the previous two rallies, held on weekends, were important in amount, together with all the Sept. 19 event anticipated to have drawn at least 20,000 people. However, turnout might be weaker this moment, which falls on a weekday amid rain.
The protesters have attracted attention, and scorn in certain areas, because of the need for reforms in Thailand’s constitutional monarchy, which they claim does not correctly function in a democratic mindset.
That demand has generated a massive controversy since the royal association has been considered a pillar of Thai identity.
On the other hand, the activists openly identify closely with all the 1932 revolution which ended the absolute monarchy.
Many royalist groups announced plans to point counter-demonstrations close to the rally, but their prior attempts gained little popular support.
The turnout of all yellow-shirted civilians seemed to be much bigger Wednesday. There was speculation that such counter-demonstrators were arranged by police, as postings on societal media revealed municipal trucks carrying classes of people all wearing yellow shirts. They are distinguished from authorities, that are forced to wear brief back-and-sides haircuts.
The other historic connection maintained by Wednesday’s protesters is that the date of this rally, that’s the anniversary of the 1973 popular uprising that resulted in the toppling of a military dictatorship.
The protest movement was started in March by college students but immediately put on hold as Thailand was gripped by surges in coronavirus instances. It arrived in July, once the danger from the virus slipped, and ever since that time has been spearheaded by pupils and researched on social networking.
Even the protester’s bill that Prime Minister Prayuth, who as military commander directed a 2014 coup toppling an elected government, was sentenced to power in the past year’s general election since the laws were modified to favor a pro-military celebration.