Thai student activists to hold anti-government rally

Student activists in Thailand will today hold an anti-government rally at Thammasat University, Tha Phra Chan campus demanding reforms to

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Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Student activists in Thailand will today hold an anti-government rally at Thammasat University, Tha Phra Chan campus demanding reforms to the monarchy, the constitution and an end to the harassment of dissidents. Many pro-democracy groups have expressed an interest in attending the rally and turnout may reach 100,000 people or more.

Thailand is one of a few countries that still upholds a lèse-maiesté law, under which insulting the monarchy may result in up to 15 years in prison. Over the past few months the country has witnessed a wave of anti-government protests, including one of the largest rallies in Thai history.

Past protest movements have been repressed violently, and many Thais fear this time may be no different. However, the Thammasat students are determined to keep pushing the boundaries of acceptable debate and to build momentum in month-long demonstrations.

Expect the protesters to continue risking a crackdown due to the overt calls for reform of the monarchy. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has told the press that the government will not obstruct the rally. Nonetheless, as the demographic makeup of protesters potentially broadens and turnout increases, tensions are likely to rise if the government remains unwilling to compromise.

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