Hundreds stage street protest against Prayut regime

Hundreds stage street protest against Prayut regime

Students hold 'Black Friday' march at Parliament to push for change

A man holds a mock tank as he cheers on people taking part in a demonstration calling for a new constitution near Parliament in Bangkok on Friday. (AFP Photo)
A man holds a mock tank as he cheers on people taking part in a demonstration calling for a new constitution near Parliament in Bangkok on Friday. (AFP Photo)

Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters marched on Parliament in Bangkok on Friday, wearing black T-shirts to mourn the state of the country under the current government, in the first significant street protest in six years.

Discontent with the government of Gen Prayut Chan-o-Cha has been growing since the court-ordered dissolution of the opposition Future Forward Party. Meanwhile, the already weak economy is taking a bigger hit as the Covid-19 crisis has devastated the tourism industry.

Protesters have gathered on numerous university campuses nationwide in recent weeks but are now edging back onto the streets of the capital, which has played host to rival — and often deadly — rounds of street politics over the last 14 years.

The boisterous but peaceful “Black Friday” rally, calling for the government to quit, is the latest reflection of Gen Prayut’s unpopularity.

“Our families are grassroots people and we’re directly affected by government policy and the failing economy,” 22-year-old student leader Thip Ubsorn said.

Pro-democracy movements — usually led by students — have often ended in bloody army crackdowns. But today’s students — organised on social media and also emboldened by Hong Kong’s protest movement — are slowly mobilising once again.

“We’re not scared, we’re a new generation,” one 27-year-old post-graduate student who called herself BK told AFP.

“We’re wearing black to mourn the death of the rule of law, justice and democracy in our country.”


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