Students Call for Radical Changes to Thailand Government

Thousands of protesters called for radical changes to the Thai government Sunday — the latest in near daily protests lead by students against the government.Bangkok police estimated 10,000 attendees, which would make the demonstration the largest Thailand has seen since the 2014 coup. Student leaders are demanding new elections to form a new parliament, including the dismissal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general who took power in the 2014 coup and won disputed elections last year. But Sunday’s protests also called for changes to the monarchy  a sensitive subject in Thailand, where anyone criticizing the Royal Family may face long prison sentences. “We want a new election and a new parliament from the people,” student activist Patsalawalee Tanakitwiboonpon, 24, told the crowd. “Lastly, our dream is to have a monarchy which is truly under the constitution.” Demonstrators also waved banners and chanted “Down with dictatorship, long live democracy.”Bangkok police said they had deployed 600 officers to observe the demonstration. A counter-rally defending the monarchy drew dozens of attendees. The latest wave of protests began in February when the Future Forward Party (FFP), a progressive party largely supported by young Thais, was dissolved by court order. Protests were then halted due to COVID-19 concerns, but regained energy in July, despite a ban on large gatherings.  

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