Thousands of protesters gather at Ratchaprasong

Thousands of protesters gather at Ratchaprasong

Protesters occupy Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok during a rally pressing for the release of their detained leaders. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Protesters occupy Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok during a rally pressing for the release of their detained leaders. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Thousands of demonstrators occupied Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok on Wednesday demanding reform of the monarchy and the release of detained leaders.

Earlier, the  United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration posted a Facebook message urging a peaceful rally, days after one of the most violent demonstrations since they began last year.

More than 30 civilians and police were injured in a clash at a protest near the palace on Saturday, after police used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the rally.

The protesters have also demanded curbs to the power of His Majesty the King and the end of a lese majeste law that gives up to 15 years in prison for insulting the monarchy.

Protesters on Wednesday peacefully occupied Ratchaprasong, one of Bangkok's busiest street intersections, and cheered as some leaders demanded monarchy reforms and called for their "friends" to be freed from jail.

"This is a long and tiring fight. We must fight together along this path to democracy," Attapon Buapat, who was indicted for lese majeste earlier this month but later released on bail, told the crowd.

"Change has begun. They could only slow it down but never stop it."

Criminal cases have been mounting against protest leaders. The most prominent ones have already been jailed pending trial for insulting the royalty.

Thailand's youth protest movement emerged last year and has posed the biggest challenge to the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the former army chief who seized power in 2014 from an elected government.

Vocabulary

  • bail: money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money  - เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว (deny bail (of a court) to refuse to allow someone to go free on bail ไม่ให้ประกันตัว)
  • challenge: an invitation or a suggestion to somebody that they should enter a competition, fight, etc - การท้าทาย
  • clash: a brief fight between two or more people - การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย
  • curb: to control or limit something - จำกัดขอบเขต, ควบคุม
  • democracy (noun): a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives - การปกครองแบบประชาธิปไตย
  • disperse: (of a crowd of people) to separate and leave in different directions  - สลายฝูงชน
  • insult: to say or do something to someone that is rude or offensive - พูดแดกดัน, พูดจาบจ้วง
  • lese majeste: the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family - หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
  • monarchy (noun): the king or queen of a country and their family - ราชวงศ์, พระบรมวงศานุวงศ์
  • prominent: important and well known - สำคัญ, มีชื่อเสียง, เด่น
  • reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
  • rubber (noun): a bouncy, elastic material used in car tires and waterproof gloves - กล้ายาง
  • tear gas: a gas used by some police and armed forces to control crowds of people. It hurts the eyes and makes them produce tears - ก๊าซน้ำตา
  • urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
  • violent: involving or caused by physical force that is intended to hurt or kill somebody - รุนแรง, ร้ายแรง, สาหัส
  • water cannon: a machine that produces a powerful flow of water, used by the police to control crowds of people -
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