The government in Thailand is cracking down on the latest major demonstration in Bangkok: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued an emergency ordinance on Thursday and banned rallies. Meetings of more than five people are now banned in Bangkok, the Bangkok Post newspaper reports. Police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen confirmed that 20 activists had been arrested, including key leaders of the movement.
In addition, a large number of security forces have moved to the site near the government headquarters where the protesters camped after the demonstration on Wednesday. Most of them had already left. Anon Nampa, one of the main leaders of the protests, had previously said: “If they really attack, we have agreed to sit still and not argue with them. Let’s see if they dare to use violence against the people. Nampa was later arrested.
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The protests of the democracy movement have been going on for three months. The protesters are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, new elections and comprehensive reforms. The general has been in power since a military coup in 2014. In addition, activists are demanding an end to the intimidation of civilians and political opponents.
But it’s also about the role of the monarchy and a strict law that allows up to 15 years in prison for lese majesty. The topic has long been taboo in the Southeast Asian country. King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who lives most of the time in Bavaria, is currently himself in Bangkok and attended a ceremony during the demonstration. The royal family in Thailand also has many followers. (dpa)