Thousands took part in an anti-government protest in Bangkok on Saturday, September 19, demonstrating against the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, as well as voicing a desire for reforms to the monarchy. Police reported that at least 18,000 people took part, making it one of the largest protests since a military-backed coup in 2014. The protesters marched from the campus of Thammasat University to Sanam Luang field, in front of the Grand Palace. The protesters have stated that they intend to stay overnight in the field, before marching to Government House on Sunday, September 20. Organizers claim that at least 50,000 people took part in the protest. Media reports indicate that 10,000 police were deployed to Bangkok's streets in preparation for the protest. The protests have so far been peaceful.
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of the protest sites. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. Continued protests are expected over the coming days.
September 19 is the anniversary of a coup in 2006 that removed then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Many of his supporters, wearing red shirts, have taken part in the 2020 protests.
Public opposition has grown against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha 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 months. Counter protests have also been held, particularly in support of the monarchy.
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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