Rival political activist groups plan to demonstrate nationwide between Wednesday, September 16, and Wednesday, September 23. Pro-democracy groups have been gathering to denounce the current government's alleged non-democratic policies and are demanding political reforms. Some have also criticized the monarchy and accused it of being undemocratic. Government supporters, conversely, believe pro-democracy supporters undermine state institutions, including the monarchy. Organizers of the rallies have released the following dates for gatherings (local time):
• Between Wednesday, September 16, and Friday, September 18: Organizers have called for a pro-government gathering in Phetchaburi sometime between Wednesday and Friday; specific details on the rally are unclear. Possible protest sites include the City Hall.
• Thursday, September 17: A pro-government gathering at the Southern People Association in Bangkok.
• Thursday, September 17: A pro-government gathering at the US Embassy in Bangkok.
• Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20: An overnight pro-democracy demonstration at Thammasat University, Sanam Luang, and the Government House in Bangkok. While officials of Thammasat University in Bangkok announced that they would not allow the protest at the site, pro-democracy movement leaders say they will still gather at the location.
• Wednesday, September 23: A pro-government gathering at the National Assembly in Bangkok, from 09:00.
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of the protest sites.
Public opposition has grown against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's over government spending, the dissolution of an opposition party, and many other factors. Activists have also called for reforms to the powers of the monarchy. Protests on an increasing scale have been held in Bangkok and other locations across Thailand in recent weeks. Counter protests have also been held, particularly in support of the monarchy.
On August 8, student groups officially launched the Free People group, which has grown out of the previous Free Youth movement responsible for much of the recent protest activity. On August 16, 10,000 people took part in a demonstration organized by the group in Bangkok, one of the largest protests to be held since the coup in 2014. At least ten people were arrested by police. Protests organized by student groups have since been occurring in Bangkok on a near-daily basis.
Those in Thailand are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid all protests or demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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