A major scheduled pro-democracy rally at the Crown Property Bureau in Bangkok is the biggest story of upcoming news this week in the week ahead in Thailand.
The Pattaya News publishes each week the top news stories in the week ahead and this week we wanted to draw specific attention to the rally scheduled tomorrow, November 25th, in Bangkok.
The rally comes after months of escalating protests, including clashes that turned violent at Parliament earlier this month while Parliament was debating various Constitution charter amendment drafts. Parliament turned down a draft supported by the pro-democracy protesters and submitted by the group iLaw which had been signed by 100,000 people. This particular draft would have allowed changes to all sections of the constitution, including those regarding the highest institution, the monarchy. Opposition groups to the protesters and pro-government supporters say any changes to this section would be unacceptable.
The protesters are asking for several things, among those a new constitution, the resignation of the Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha, the dissolvement of parliament, the total stop of harassment and legal charges on protesters, the reform of education and the removal of the Education minister. However, their most controversial demand from some of the protesters is to reform (not abolish) the highest institution which has driven substantial counter opposition and emotions from pro-establishment supporters.
After the parliament protest, protesters met again near Royal Police Headquarters, splashing the gates with paint and spraying graffiti, some deemed “inappropriate and vulgar” by pro-establishment supporters last week. Meanwhile, concern has risen across both members of the protesters, government supporters, government and law enforcement that tomorrow’s scheduled protest at the Crown Property Bureau could reignite conflict between groups with radically opposing views.
Law enforcement has stated they will enforce the law tomorrow at the rally. The Bureau has been lined with barbed wire and signs that state it is royal property, which could mean that a mass assembly law banning gathering within 150 meters of the building could take place. Bangkok police have not yet stated if they will be closing and barricading streets nearby, which led to pro-democracy protesters at Parliament taking down barricades and marching to the building last week, causing hours of cat and mouse style actions between opposing groups.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’ Cha has stated that both sides should work to lower tensions and engage in dialogue versus take actions that could offend others, in this case referring to the choice of venue for the protest. Late last week he stated that “all laws” could be used against protesters in terms of legal enforcement.
Pro-Government and establishment groups, meanwhile, have stated they will also be gathering at the protest site tomorrow to ensure the pro-democracy supporters “do not break the law” and offend the monarchy. Law enforcement officials state they will take “equal action” against both sides who violate the peace or law tomorrow.
The Pattaya News will provide regular coverage of tomorrow’s protests as they take place.