Mass anti-government rally kicks off in Thailand
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, to rally toward the government headquarters to reiterate calls for an overhaul of the administration and the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha.
According to Press TV, protesters initially gathered at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, which has been a meeting place during months of protests, while giving their three-finger salute — a popular symbol of the protests — on Wednesday.
“Down with dictatorship! Long live democracy!” the marchers chanted as they moved off from the monument and marched toward the government house.
The rally is the latest in three months of anti-government protests.
Earlier in the day, a group of people gathered just meters away in support of the country’s monarchy and the government.
A brief brawl occurred between the protesters and the royalists — all of whom were clad in the royal yellow color — before police intervened.
That has raised concerns about potential trouble in a country that experienced a decade of street violence between the supporters and opponents of the establishment before a coup d’etat in 2014.
Royalist Leader Buddha Issara said the protesters could demand democracy but must not call for reform of the monarchy.
“They must not touch on the institution (of the monarchy),” he said. “We will not accept any booing or raising three or four fingers during the motorcade as well.”
A protest leader Anon Nampa, however, said earlier that they were protesting “to call for a reform of the institution to better the country.”
He also warned that “there will be provocations from the other side,” calling on protesters to avoid clashes and fighting.
“We don’t want to clash with anyone,” he said.