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Protesters to call for the removal of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

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Protesters to call for the removal of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

thailand protests
Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

Rival Thai pro and anti-government protesters will stage simultaneous demonstrations in Bangkok today.

The demonstrations come one month after anti-government protests against the ousting of the opposition Future Forward party’s leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, as a member of parliament.

Tensions have been rising since the election of ex-military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister in March. Many democracy activists claim the electoral system was designed by the military junta to return a pro-military government to power.

Repression of Juangroongruangkit will continue—he has been slapped with further charges relating to December’s protests. It is unlikely that such moves will spark a new movement that rivals the protests last month.

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The major test of whether there is life in the pro-democracy movement will come on January 21, when the Constitutional Court rules on whether to ban the Future Forward party on charges that it seeks to overthrow the monarchy. Regardless, Future Forward’s support base is largely limited to urban youth. To really challenge the government, it would need to broaden its base to traditional opposition areas in the rural north.

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