Pro-democracy rallies to be held across Bangkok

Several Thai pro-democracy groups are set to hold rallies across Bangkok today, Today’s protests mark the 89th anniversary of Thailand’s

Sakchai Lalit AP Photo

Photo: Sakchai Lalit/AP Photo

Several Thai pro-democracy groups are set to hold rallies across Bangkok today,

Today’s protests mark the 89th anniversary of Thailand’s 1932 democratic revolution. Nevertheless, Bangkok is still under COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting gatherings, which police have said they will enforce.

These protests take place during an ongoing constitutional reform process in which both the ruling Palang Pracharth Party (PPRP) and the opposition seek changes. The PPRP wants to abolish primaries and restore the two-ballot method, which would advantage it in elections. The groups behind today’s protests back the goals of the opposition, with a particular focus on the resignation of Thai prime minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. Prayut is expected to call early elections, taking advantage of the country’s recovery to cement the authority of the PPRP, particularly regarding the military, which since 2018 has become discontent with PPRP control.

The combination of early elections and constitutional amendments are likely to be a highly effective method of consolidating power for Prayut and the PPRP. Past, larger, protests have been unable to gather sufficient domestic support to prevent this outcome. However, if these protests become a broader confrontation, the military may step in for yet another coup to stabilize the political situation.

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