Large pro-democracy protests taking place in Bangkok today, here is a look at the situation

Another major anti-government protest is being held at Democracy Monument today in Bangkok

A major anti-government/pro-democracy rally held by the Free Youth and Free People groups will occur at Democracy Monument, Bangkok today, August 16, at 3:00 PM on-wards.

More than 10,000 protesters are expected to join the big pro-democracy protest, according to the Free Youth statement. The actual size of the crowd will likely vary based on estimates given by groups with competing views and values. Some of the student activist leaders will also participate in the venue including Arnon Nampha and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, prominent activists who were freed on bail after being arrested for charges of alleged sedition and violations of the Emergency Decree to control the Covid-19 Coronavirus last week.

Free Youth Movement’s statement will be repeated during the demonstration, including the three previous demands for the end of intimidation of critics of the government, a start on the drafting of a new constitution, and the dissolution of the House of Representatives. A splinter group of activists who held a recent rally at Thammasat University have also asked to go further then this, however, the Free Youth and Free people movement have said they are primarily focused on these prior three demands.

About six hundred officers from four companies of the Bangkok Police are arranged to be present at the rally to maintain peace and order after a representative of the anti-government movement sent a document asking for permission, per Thai law, to set a venue at the roundabout of Democracy Monument.

Police Major General Somprasong Yenthuam, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), told the Associated Press that a large amount of traffic police would be dispatched to facilitate traffic movement in the area.

Officers from the 191 Patrol Unit will also be stationed at all corners and intersections to monitor the situation and prevent any third party from provoking chaos or any disturbing incident.

This will be the fourth mass anti-government protest at the Democracy Monument during the governance of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O’Cha. The rally was first held last month and had raised concerns from authorities since it was the biggest gathering since the Covid-19 Coronavirus lock-downs and restriction measures. Protesters have stressed the gathering is peaceful.

A small group opposed to the views of the protesters have also gathered in the area. Bangkok Police have said their primary goal is keeping the two groups, whose views are according to them radically opposed, separated and peaceful.

Photos: Associated Press

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