Thousands of protestors take to Bangkok streets after Thai Prime Minister ignored deadline to resign


Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have gathered in Thailand’s capital, seeking to keep up pressure on the government a day ahead of a special session of Parliament aimed at easing political tensions.

The rally took place at the busy Rajprasong intersection, in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district, on Sunday with protester numbers swelling to several thousand after a few hours. 

The rally was called on Saturday night after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ignored the protesters’ deadline to step down, with core demands including a more democratic constitution and reforms to the monarchy.   

Protesters hold up three-fingered signs at the rally in the busy Rajprasong intersection, in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district, on Sunday (pictured)  

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have gathered in Thailand's capital, seeking to keep up pressure on the government ahead of a Parliamentary session aimed at easing political tensions (pictured, protesters holding up flags and signs)

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have gathered in Thailand’s capital, seeking to keep up pressure on the government ahead of a Parliamentary session aimed at easing political tensions (pictured, protesters holding up flags and signs) 

The pro-democracy protesters, who took to the streets in Thailand's capital, are demanding a more democratic constitution and reforms to the monarchy

The pro-democracy protesters, who took to the streets in Thailand’s capital, are demanding a more democratic constitution and reforms to the monarchy

Demonstrators say Mr Prayuth, who led a coup in 2014 as the army chief, was returned to power unfairly in last year’s general election because laws had been changed to favour a pro-military party.

They also say the constitution, written and enacted under military rule, is undemocratic.

Mr Prayuth’s government called a Parliamentary session last week, expected to last two days, to try to defuse weeks of almost daily protests.

He said: ‘The only way to a lasting solution for all sides that is fair for those on the streets as well as for the many millions who choose not to go on the streets is to discuss and resolve these differences through the parliamentary process.’

Demonstrators say Mr Prayuth, who led a coup in 2014 as the army chief, was returned to power unfairly in last year's general election (pictured a bus ticket clerk and a protester gesturing the three-fingered flash at each other)

Demonstrators say Mr Prayuth, who led a coup in 2014 as the army chief, was returned to power unfairly in last year’s general election (pictured a bus ticket clerk and a protester gesturing the three-fingered flash at each other) 

Demonstrators say the constitution, written and enacted under military rule, is undemocratic, and have taken to the streets in their thousands to protest

Demonstrators say the constitution, written and enacted under military rule, is undemocratic, and have taken to the streets in their thousands to protest 

Mr Prayuth also lifted a state of emergency that he had imposed a week earlier that made the protest rallies illegal, however protesters declared the efforts to appease them insincere. 

Protesters took to social media to say that the points of discussion up for debate by the government didn’t deal with their concerns but were disguised criticisms of the protests themselves.  

These concern the risk of coronavirus spreading at rallies, the alleged interference with a royal motorcade by a small crowd earlier this month, and illegal gatherings and the destruction of images of the royal family.

Protest organisers have called for a Monday afternoon march to the German Embassy in central Bangkok, far from the Parliament complex on the outskirts of the city.

People at the pro-democracy rally wearing masks and shining their mobile phone cameras. There has been concern about the risk of coronavirus spreading at the demonstrations

People at the pro-democracy rally wearing masks and shining their mobile phone cameras. There has been concern about the risk of coronavirus spreading at the demonstrations 

A demonstrator flashes the three-fingered salute at the protests. There have been almost daily rallies for weeks and Mr Prayuth's government called a Parliamentary session last weekto try to defuse the situation

A demonstrator flashes the three-fingered salute at the protests. There have been almost daily rallies for weeks and Mr Prayuth’s government called a Parliamentary session last weekto try to defuse the situation 

Members of the LGBT community attended the rally which erupted after the Thai Prime Minister ignored the protesters' deadline to step down

Members of the LGBT community attended the rally which erupted after the Thai Prime Minister ignored the protesters’ deadline to step down  

The reason for the march is to bring attention to the protesters’ anger that King Maha Vajiralongkorn spends a lot of his time in Germany.

Protesters’ criticism of the royal institution has annoyed conservative Thais because the monarchy has traditionally been highly valued.

Self-proclaimed ‘defenders of the monarchy’ rallied in several cities last week after mobilising online, in many cases led by local civil servants.

On Wednesday, a small royalist rally in Bangkok broke into violence when a few attendees attacked anti-government student activists.

A man holds up a sign saying 'we want to reform, not dethrone'. Protesters' criticism of the royal institution has annoyed conservative Thais because the monarchy has traditionally been highly valued

A man holds up a sign saying ‘we want to reform, not dethrone’. Protesters’ criticism of the royal institution has annoyed conservative Thais because the monarchy has traditionally been highly valued

Protesters listen to a man speaking at the rally. Organisers have called for a Monday afternoon march to the German Embassy in central Bangkok to highlight their anger than the Prime Minister spends a lot of his time there

Protesters listen to a man speaking at the rally. Organisers have called for a Monday afternoon march to the German Embassy in central Bangkok to highlight their anger than the Prime Minister spends a lot of his time there

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