Thai pro-democracy protesters plan rally to petition King

BANGKOK • 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 before handing over a letter in support of their demands to the King, said Free Youth, one of the protest groups, yesterday.

The protesters want the 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 protesters have held almost daily rallies 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 comes days after King Vajiralongkorn offered an olive branch to protesters in which he called Thailand "the land of compromise".

On Wednesday, the protesters rejected a reconciliation panel being set up by Parliament, saying it was a "political ploy to buy time".

Pro-democracy groups have said that 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 last year 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 Parliament to deliberate a referendum for charter amendment. Mr Prayut has also said he is open to changing parts of the Constitution and taking away the Senate's power to elect prime ministers.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2020, with the headline Thai pro-democracy protesters plan rally to petition King. Subscribe