Thailand: Thousands gather for anti-government protest in Bangkok

Thousands of protesters rallied in Bangkok’s Sanam Luang field, on Saturday, to demand political reforms and mark the anniversary of a bloodless coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006. Protesters gathered initially in front of Thammasat University and marched to Sanam Luang field, and started to occupy the area as police reportedly withdrew. The rally continued past sundown as many planned to spend the night at the location in preparation for the next day's protest march. On Thursday, September 10, the university published a statement banning the anti-government rally at its Tha Phra Chan campus. Nevertheless, student leader Parit Chiwarak, also known by his nickname ‘Penguin,' stated on Facebook that the rally would go ahead regardless. In similar demonstrations throughout the past few months, students and other activists have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general, as well as reforms to the 2017 constitution that was devised after a period of military rule. There have also been calls for a reform of the monarchy. Criticism of the royal family has previously seen people receive sentences for up to 15 years.

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