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A group of pro-democracy demonstrators was massing at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok since 8:00 AM today, October 14, to participate in what activists claimed to be the biggest mass pro-democracy protest in Thailand after a 2014-coup.
Today’s protest had started off with high tensions as 21 pro-democracy activists were placed under arrest a day earlier, claiming by the authorities that they were being uncooperative while the officials were emptying the area for the King’s motorcade.
Prominent activist Anon Numpa urged all demonstrators to remain calm and respectful throughout the protest without clashing with other pro-institution groups that were gathering across the street to pay respect to their Royal Majesties the King and Queen in a royal motorcade this afternoon.
“There will be no intervention against the passing of anyone’s cars. All garbage collection buses, public cars, taxis, civilian cars as well as the royal motorcade will be allowed to pass. We must be fully aware that everyone has the right to use the road.” Anon stated on the stage this morning.
More of the incoming demonstrators nationwide had occupied half of Ratchadamneon Avenue in the afternoon and began to dismantle barricades and small plants decorated around the Democracy Monument by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, claiming that the area belongs to the people and should not be occupied by any particular authorities but the public.
A tense physical confrontation occurred as the royalists and the pro-democracy protestors were shouting challenges and throwing things at each other. The police and protest guards had managed to separate the two within a short time but reportedly at least 3 people suffered from minor injuries. It is unclear what side started the scuffle with both opposing sides blaming the other.
The protesters were reportedly marching on the Government House around 2:30 PM to demand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha’s resignation, meanwhile, plenty of Bangkok public buses and a decent amount of concrete and wire rope barriers were installed on all roads to block the pro-democracy protesters to enter the Government House.
– Pro-democracy protesters are halfway to the Government House when they have encountered the police line up and police buses at the Thewakam Rangrak bridge. They managed to negotiate with the authorities and cross the bridge but the police then set up a new line of barricades at Nakhon Sawan road.
– The demonstrators, frontliners, and protest guards are now peacefully sitting and waiting while facing the official barricades at Nakhon Sawan road, which is located a hundred meters away from the Government House, as their leaders are negotiating with the authorities to let them continue their way. As of 5:00 PM, the group is still at the barricades.
– Meanwhile, Rachadumnouen avenue where the mass protest was previously gathering at has been cleared and resumed its normal traffic until the royal motorcade arrives as scheduled at 5:00 PM.
– Crowd control police have been assigned to the bus barricade area. Behind the buses are a large group of pro-government counter protesters. Law Enforcement has brought in what appears to be several hundred crowd control police to be deployed to the bus barricade area as both sides refuse to back down.
– The control police have eventually agreed to remove their buses and their reinforcement after the mutual agreement has been made between the police and the protest leaders. The massive demonstrators have continued their march to the Nang Loeng intersection, where the Government House is located 800 meters away.
– Police and law enforcement officials held back the protesters while they attempted to reach the Government House as a Royal motorcade carrying His Royal Majesty the King and Queen passed through Phitsanulok Road.
– A group of royalist supporters and pro-democracy supporters got into shouting matches with radically opposing views, but physically peaceful, as His Royal Majesty passed in a motorcade. The motorcade eventually passed without a major incident.
– Law enforcement controlled the situation tightly, despite high tension and raised passions from both opposing groups.
The protest frontliners have now arrived at the Government House at Phitsanulok Road. They are reportedly planning to camp out for an overnight stay for at least 3 days in front of the Prime Minster’s office.
Speeches have begun in front of the Government house as a large crowd of protesters have arrived. The Pattaya News as an editorial policy does not estimate crowd size. Police have moved to the rear of the crowd and the tenseness of the situation has eased some.
A group of soldiers is setting up more barbed wire fences to block the entrance and the exit road in front of the Army Region 1 headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road. The protesters tried to prevent the soldiers from spreading the fence by pushing close, and trying to shout the soldiers away.
A team of law enforcement officers urged the protesters to break up the protest by 10:00 PM. Meanwhile, another group of demonstrators are negotiating with the officers to withdraw their reinforcement as it is starting to cause panic among protesters and onlookers.