Thailand: Protest clouds gather over regime

  • Prospects of a new round of anti-government protests built on 27 Jan 18 as various dissident groups launched activities in the capital and elsewhere in the country to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the military regime.
  • Their voices joined that of the People Go Network (PGN), an umbrella group of activists and academics which launched a 450km civic march from Pathum Thani to Khon Kaen last week.
  • The allied groups are opposed to a potential delay to the general election, the luxury watch scandal encircling the deputy prime minister, and alleged attempts by the government to restrict people’s rights.
  • The dissidents gained momentum as the Administrative Court on 27 Jan 18 granted an injunction against the police to the PGN as it pursues its “We Walk” march. The PGN launched its march on 20 Jan 18, but it was initially blocked by police, forcing members to split up and restart the walk from alternative locations.
  • The Administrative Court, however, has now ordered police not to obstruct the march and to ensure safety for its participants. However, in case participants break any applicable laws, police may take appropriate action, including seeking a court order to halt the march.
  • Red shirt leader Sombat Boonngamanong, who also attended the gathering, said any delay to the election would pose a major threat to the stability of the country.
  • The New Democracy Movement added it will continue to pressure the government and Gen Prayut to dismiss Gen Prawit and to keep his promise to holding the election in 2018. They will gather again in the same spot on 10 Feb 18.

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