Thailand: Prayut softens tone as rallies spread nationwide

  • As rallies to oust the government mushroomed across the country, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appeared to tone down his stance against protesters.
  • Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on 18 Oct 20 the prime minister recognised the right to protest but said demonstrations must be held in accordance with the law.
  • The tone seemed friendlier than on 17 Oct 20, when according to the spokesman, Gen Prayut warned people not to attend gatherings and violate the law.
  • The prime minister has come under fire after police used violent tactics at Pathumwan intersection on 16 Oct 20 by firing water cannons at peaceful protesters.
  • The violent dispersal seemed to energise protests in Bangkok and other provinces. With about 20 protest leaders arrested, organisers have switched to “leaderless” rallies, allowing individual demonstrators to address the crowds.
  • On 18 Oct 20, protests erupted in about 20 locations in provinces outside Bangkok. The Victory Monument and Asok intersection were the main sites in the capital.
  • Approximately one thousand students attended a rally at Chiang Mai University that ended shortly after 10pm on 18 Oct 20. Speakers onstage said if the student protest leaders previously arrested in Bangkok were not released by 20 Oct 20, students would block Huay Kaew Road from the university entrance to the Maya shopping mall at the Rin Kham intersection with the superhighway.

External Link :