a Significant portion of the protesters are students. In fact, the protests began in February, after it was disbanded opposition party “Anakat May” (into the future) – the third largest in the Parliament and who enjoyed wide support among young people, because it saw a new trend in politics instead of the usual rhetoric of the authorities.
However, the epidemic of the coronavirus for a few months stopped all sorts of mass protests. But it was enough to remove the restrictions as they continued demonstrations.
currently, the protesters have three main demands. This is the resignation of the government, the new Constitution, the cessation of persecution of the opposition.
However, judging by some slogans in recent days, appeared the fourth requirement is the reform of the monarchy in terms of the limits of the powers of the king. The latter is particularly sensitive topic, given that for insulting His Majesty with semi-divine status, the law specifies up to 15 years in prison. However, after the ascent to the throne in 2016, the new king Mahi Vachiralongkorn (Rama V) this measure was not used, but it remains in the legislation.
Among the demands of protesters against the crown – deduced from the direct subordination of the king two army units, to limit his right to control the vast Royal possession, and to refrain in the future from approval of military coups. The latter is due to the current government in Thailand by the government of General prayuth Chan-OCHA, who came to power in the 2014 coup, whose resignation the protesters demand.
According to some reports, the Royal house had secretly asked the local media not to publish information about the requirements of students regarding the reform of the monarchy.
Simultaneously with the supporters of reform to the streets in Bangkok came out and those who support the current state of Affairs. Demonstration in support of the king took place August 16 at the door with a rally of supporters of change. “You can speak out against anyone other than the monarch, we have no right to touch,” said the royalists. They also promised to closely monitor students and report to the police if they see disrespect to the monarchy.
Authorities are yet to react to the protests softly. Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, General Rules Wongsuwon said on 17 August that citizens have the right to hold meetings and to Express their opinion if it does not infringe upon the rights of others, according to Thai newspaper the Bangkok Post. When the General asked how the authorities relate to the fact that the protesters violated an order banning mass gatherings in view of the danger of the spread of coronavirus, Ruled only shrugged and said, “what can we do?” However, the three leaders of the protests are still detained on charges of sedition and violation of the prohibition at mass meetings, but they were soon released.
in addition, the Deputy Prime Minister agreed that the Constitution of the Kingdom do need to be changed, though it has recently been adopted in 2017. However, Thailand is no stranger to the amendments to the basic law since the abolition of absolute monarchy in 1932, a new Constitution was adopted already twenty times.
Meanwhile, gathered at the Democracy monument in Bangkok protesters say that’s not going anywhere until the authorities fulfill their demands. Apparently, the government is not ready to use force for fear of growing discontent in a country whose economic situation deteriorated due to restrictions of coronavirus, especially in tourism sector (GDP of the Kingdom in the second quarter of 2020 decreased by 12.2 percent, a record drop since 1998).