Despite ongoing difficulties thanks to the worldwide pandemic COVID-19, Thailand is now seeing an eruption of protests taking place in its capital Bangkok. The protests call for the resignation of current Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who came to power after the 2014 coup that saw power redistributed throughout the Thai government. The call comes as anti-monarchy sentiment grows in the country from pro-democracy protesters, who say the new constitution for the country that comes from Chan-ocha, gives too much power and wealth to the Thai monarchy. The lese majesty law that protects the institution of the monarchy and allows them to retain their influence and position has been called unfair by many.
A massive rally in the capital of Bangkok that took place on Wednesday 14th October 2020 saw protestors hold three fingers up at a passing royal car in a symbolic act of defiance. The rally, which saw thousands of people take to Bangkok’s streets, later saw clashes between the protestors and police – footage of which was shared on Twitter with the caption ‘Please! retweet and spread it out louder.’ and hashtags: #ม๊อบ14ตุลา #whatshappeninginthailand. Twenty people have said to have been arrested following the protest, including several student activists Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and Parit Chiwarak, as well as human rights lawyer Anon Nampa.
The protests come as the government uses the emergency decree, which has been in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, to further restrict and limit the gathering and movement of its peoples. Under the new decree, it is said that protestors are able to be held by the police – without contact with their and family – for up to 30 days. People can now be arrested for gatherings in numbers larger than five under the new laws; online fear-mongering is also now on the list of punishable offices.