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Thailand: Thousands protest against military government in Bangkok

Christian Fernsby |
The demonstrators gathered for a run at a park in Bangkok early in the morning on Sunday in a public display of dissent at the policies of the government of former junta leader and incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

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Thousands of people have protested in the Thai capital, Bangkok, against the military backed government and called for greater political freedoms.

During the “Run against Dictatorship,” the protesters appeared in athletic outfits and colorful shoes and chanted “Prayuth, get out!” and “Long live democracy!” while running a 2.6-kilometer course amid a light presence of security forces.

Tanawat Wongchai, one of the main organizers of the Sunday event, said the rally was aimed at pushing back against the political suppression that allegedly started after Prayuth’s 2014 coup and now continued under his civilian government.

“We want people to feel that to come out and demand our rights and express ourselves is something that can be done,” he said.

Organizers said more than 10,000 people had registered to participate.

A rival event was due to take place in another park in Bangkok on Sunday, with about 3,000 people having registered to join the rally in support of Prayuth and his government.

Prayuth, a retired general and former commander of the Royal Thai Army, seized power after he led a military coup in May 2014 and ousted the democratically elected Yingluck Shinawatra.

Since the military takeover, the government has imposed nationwide martial law, banning political gatherings of five people or more. It has also ordered security related offenses to be handled by military courts.

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