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Rallies spread nationwide

Protesters flocked to the area outside the Future Park shopping centre in Rangsit of Pathum Thani province for the rally against the government on Sunday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

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As rallies to oust the government spread across the country, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appeared to tone down his stance against protesters.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Sunday the prime minister recognised the right to protest but said demonstrations must follow the law.

"The government is willing to listen to everyone 's problems and continues to solve problems in all areas," the spokesman quoted him as saying.

The tone seemed friendlier than on Saturday, when according to the spokesman, Prayut warned people not to attend gatherings and violate the law.

The prime minister has come under fire after police used violent tactics at Pathumwan intersection on Friday by firing water cannon at peaceful protesters.

This seemed to energise protests in Bangkok and other provinces. With about 20 protest leaders arrested, organisers have switched to "leaderless" rallies,  allowing individual demonstrators to address the crowds.

On Sunday, protests erupted in about 20 locations in provinces outside Bangkok. The Victory Monument and Asok intersection were the main sites in the capital.

Students attend a rally at Chiang Mai University on Sunday night. (Photo by Phitchayapha Naitung)

Major rallies were held outside the Future Park shopping centre in Pathum Thani province and Central Plaza WestGate in Nonthaburi province, where authorities said about 1,000 demonstrators gathered. The rally in Rangsit ended shortly before 8pm.

In Nakhon Ratchasima province, students -- estimated by authorities to number 600 -- gathered at Rajamangala University of Technology Isan to demand that the prime minister step down and senators picked by the junta resign.

In Khon Kaen, students numbering at least in the hundreds gathered to demand all activists be released.

Approximately one thousand students attended a rally at Chiang Mai University that ended shortly after 10pm on Sunday.

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energise : to make someone feel like they are full of energy or eager - กระตุ้น, ทำให้ขะมักเขม้น

erupt (verb): to start suddenly - ปะทุขึ้น

junta : a group of military officers that governs a country, usually without having been elected - รัฐบาลทหาร

oust : to force to leave a position of power - ขับออกจากอำนาจ

senator : a member of the Senate - วุฒิสมาชิก

spokesman : a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organization - โฆษก

stance : an attitude or view about an issue that you state clearly; position - จุดยืน

tactics : particular methods or plans for achieving something - กลยุทธ  วิธีการในการวางแผน

tone : the quality of somebody's voice, especially expressing a particular emotion - น้ำเสียง, ลักษณะน้ำเสียง

under fire : being criticised strongly - ถูกวิจารณ์, โดนว่า

violent (adj): involving the use of physical force, with the intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - รุนแรง

water cannon : a machine that produces a powerful flow of water, used by the police to control crowds of people -


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