At least 5,000 protesters rallied at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Sunday in what appeared to be the largest demonstration against the government since coronavirus restrictions were eased.
The student-led rally, organised by the Free Youth group and its ally, the Free People movement, is aimed at pressuring the government to dissolve Parliament, write a new charter and end threats against its critics.
“The power of the people is being shown here,” an organiser said through a microphone.
More demonstrators were arriving at the protest scene as more than 300 police waited on standby near the monument to provide security.
The protest was countered by a much smaller group of pro-royalist members, led by vocational student activists, who demanded that the issue of the monarchy not be raised at the student-orchestrated rally.
Pro-royalist leader Sumeth Trakulwoonnu said his group will not provoke violence, but is closely watching speakers at the anti-government protest to see if they attack the highest institution. Evidence will be recorded for use in complaints to be filed with police if they show disrespect to the monarchy, he added.
Pol Maj Gen Somprasong Yenthuam, the deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau chief, said a total of 600 police have been deployed to provide security for up to 5,000 protesters. The numbers of police could be doubled if more demonstrators show up, he said.