During the anti-government protests in the Thai capital Bangkok today, demonstrators tried to advance to the old royal palace. The police moved the barriers they had erected closer to the historic building and set up water cannons.
The demonstrators are to be prevented from coming more than 150 meters from the palace buildings, which are currently no longer inhabited by the royal family, reported the „Bangkok Post“.
The largest mass rally to date against the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is to take place on the upstream Sanam Luang Esplanade by tomorrow. The organizers expect around 100,000 participants.
Counter-demo also announced
At the demonstration that began at Thammasat University, criticism of the monarchy was also voiced, for which draconian punishments are threatened. Royalists have already announced that they will decisively oppose the opponents of the monarchy.
Meanwhile, the “red shirts”, who had previously held back politically, have announced that they will support the protest movement. The “red shirts” are supporters of the ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in 2006 and fled into exile, and who continues to be popular especially among the rural poor.
In the past few years there had been repeated violent clashes between the “red shirts” and the “yellow shirts” loyal to the king. General Prayut, who is on the side of the royalists, ended the conflict in 2014 with a military coup. In 2019 he held controversial elections and implemented a constitution that grants the military a great deal of power.