Thai Parliament Recalled Amid Ongoing Protests

Thailand will recall its Parliament from recess to discuss ongoing pro-democracy protests in the country, the cabinet announced Tuesday.Lawmakers are expected to meet for a non-voting session October 26 to October 27, a move that embattled Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-Cha said he approved. Protests, largely led by students, have called for Prayuth’s resignation and several other changes to Thailand’s constitution.Protest leaders called for a day of rest Tuesday after six straight days of demonstrations, despite a ban on gatherings of more than four people.The Thai government also ordered the closing Tuesday of Voice TV, a network partly owned by the family of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Voice TV is one of four media outlets under investigation by the government for their coverage of the protest movement.FCC Thai, a press club of local and foreign journalists in Thailand, said in a statement Sunday it was “deeply concerned” about the investigation of news outlets in relation to the protests.Further to this morning’s developments, please find our statement on the police investigation of Thai media outlets below:#Journalismisnotacrime#saveสื่อเสรี
— FCCThai (@FCCThai) October 19, 2020The protesters also have called for changes to the monarchy — a seemingly untouchable institution in Thailand, where insulting royalty can result in criminal charges.But scuffles broke out between protesters and pro-monarchy supporters last week, and crowds Friday were dispersed with water cannons. Over the weekend and on Monday, demonstrations were largely peaceful.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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