Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Apprehensive Thais await major political rally in Bangkok

Apprehensive Thais await major political rally in  Bangkok

BANGKOK- A two-day rally planned this weekend is jangling nerves in Bangkok, with apprehension about how far student demonstrators will go in pushing demands for reform of Thailand’s monarchy and how the authorities might react.
At least 10,000 people were estimated to have attended a major protest rally on Aug. 16, and a bigger turnout is expected this time. In an escalation of tactics, organizers plan to march to Government House, the prime minister’s offices, to hand over petitions.
The initial demands of the alliance of groups behind a series of anti-government demonstrations were for a dissolution of Parliament with fresh elections, a new constitution and an end to intimidation of political activists.
But the main organizers behind this weekend’s rally have been promoting an additional point. They want restraints on the power of the monarchy, an institution long presented as the nation’s cornerstone and untouchable.
This open challenge to the palace has dramatically raised the political temperature.
These dissidents view the monarchy in its current form as opaque and unaccountable. At a rally last month outside Bangkok, they launched a 10-point manifesto for its reform.
Underlining their challenge, they plan to make a symbolic point this weekend by leading their supporters to occupy a field adjacent to the planned rally site.

There is plenty of precedent for that in Thailand. The military used lethal force to quash mass political demonstrations in 1992 and 2010. In 1976, security forces and right-wing vigilantes savagely put down a student rally at Thammasat University, the planned location for this weekend’s demonstration. (AP)