Thai protesters occupy Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok

Demonstrators flash the three-fingers salute as they gather outside Government House on Wednesday. (Reuters photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Oct 15, 2020, Bangkok Post. Anti-government protesters blocked Ratchaprasong intersection, in Bangkok’s inner business district, late on Thursday afternoon, pushed away rows of riot police and shouted for the ouster of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Bangkok Post reported.

Hundreds of demonstrators first gathered outside CentralWorld shopping centre, on one corner of the intersection, shortly before 4pm, the time student leaders announced for a fresh rally before being arrested near Government House on Thursday morning.

“Down with dictatorship… Get out… Release our friends,” demonstrators were heard shouting in front of the shopping complex.

The protesters, mostly young people and including high school students, then moved to Ratchadamri Road, which adjoins the intersection, and finally blocked the road.

Police read out the state of emergency declaration over loud speakers, saying it prohibited the rally and warned them of legal action. They formed up in rows confronting the demonstrators.

The crowd pushed back the police and occupied Ratchaprasong intersection. They also kept shouting out rude references to the prime minister. Local shopping malls were closed.

Protest leader Panupong Jadnok, aka Mike Rayong, showed up to lead the demonstrators, after disappearing from the rally at Government House on Wednesday night. Five other protest leaders were arrested on Thursday morning.

Student leader Chonthicha Chaengrew said demonstrators would not stay overnight. They would keep forming flash rallies. Demonstrators had to change their tactics, she said.

The demonstrators would stand by their demands for the resignation of the prime minister, the reform of the royal institution and that His Majesty the King refrain from endorsing any future coup d’etat, she said.

Ms Chonthicha said that the rally at Ratchaprasong intersection had no particular leaders.

“Everyone here is the leader. We only arrange for loudspeakers,” she said.

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