Thailand is in the middle of civil unrest after tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters rallied in Bangkok and other cities.
The people are calling for a new constitution and are now asking to cut off the King's power. Despite this, the government has vowed to protect the monarchy.
Thailand Calling for Democracy
Demonstrators defied an emergency decree that bans public gatherings of more than five people, and they had hit the streets for the fifth straight day on October 18.
There were 10,000 people around Bangkok's Victory Monument in the middle of Bangkok, and they are blocking the traffic around the central business centers of the city, according to Independent.Co.
On October 19, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke to reporters at Government House and said that he supports the idea of parliament holding an emergency session to look for a way out of the current political crisis. Still, he said that the government must protect the monarchy.
Prayut said that the government has been doing its best to compromise. He is asking people to avoid destroying government and public properties. He also urged protesters to be careful to avoid a scuffle.
The Prime Minister continued that the government must protect the monarchy and that it is the duty of all Thai citizens t. Prayut added that the government is trying to avoid using force as much as possible, and they call for a peaceful protest.
Thailand's anti-government movement is growing, In the past few days, several anti-monarchy hashtags were trending on social media, and those hashtags are being changed on the streets. However, Thai protesters are risking long prison sentences as they break the taboos against criticizing the country's monarchy.
Prominent protest leaders have been arrested on charges like sedition, which could lead to seven years in prison. On October 16, two activists were arrested on charges of attempting violence against the Queen after her motorcade was obstructed by anti-government crowds. The two may face a life sentence.
Despite the threat of prison, the emergency decree, and the arrest of protest leaders, it has not deterred the protest movement, demanding monarchical reform and making the King answerable to the country's constitution.
The movement began after former general and coup leader Prayut returned to power. This was after the disputed elections in 2019, according to The Washington Post.
Another issue that the protesters want to address is the military-drafted constitution to be rewritten. According to protesters, it allows the military to have political power in the country.
Protesters say that real democracy can't happen in Thailand until the top-down ruling establishment made up of the monarchy, the military, and the wealthy political elites are reformed.
The authorities have ordered Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to investigate four local media outlets for their coverage of the protest. This is according to a police notice that was issued on October 16 and confirmed on October 19.
According to the notice, the local media, including Prachatai, Voice TV, The Reporters, and The Standard, posted the content that may have undermined national security, public morale, and peace under new emergency measures, as reported by BBC.
Suppose the coverage of the street protest is proven to have violated the law. In that case, the media who got the memo outlets could face a suspension of operations, and their digital content will be deleted.
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