Thai pro-democracy protesters plan fresh rally to petition King

The youth-led protest groups have held almost daily demonstrations in Bangkok and other cities for three weeks. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Thai pro-democracy protesters plan to hold a fresh rally this weekend and petition King Maha Vajiralongkorn, a day after rejecting a Parliament-initiated plan to form a committee to ease the political tensions.

The activists will gather at Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Sunday (Nov 8) before handing over a letter in support of their demands to the King, Free Youth, one of the protest groups said in a statement on Thursday.

The protesters are demanding immediate resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his administration, a new Constitution and reform of the monarchy.

"These demands are not an option, but the only way to move the country forward out of a crisis," Free Youth said in the statement.

The youth-led protest groups have held almost daily demonstrations in Bangkok and other cities for three weeks, triggering counter rallies by pro-royalist groups opposed to any reform of the monarchy.

The move to petition the King also comes days after King Vajiralongkorn offered an olive branch to protesters in which he called Thailand "the land of compromise".

On Wednesday, they rejected a reconciliation panel being set up by the nation's Parliament, saying it was a "political ploy to buy time". Pro-democracy groups have said the Parliament should vote on a new prime minister whose role should be limited to charter amendment, adding that the Senate must be kept out of the process.

Mr Prayut, a former army chief who took power in a 2014 coup, kept his premiership after elections in 2019 with the help of charter rules written under his military government and the junta-appointed Senate.

The premier, who has repeatedly rejected calls to quit, signed a draft law on Wednesday for the Parliament to deliberate a referendum for charter amendment.

The premier has said that he's open to changing parts of the Constitution and taking away Senate power to elect prime ministers.

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