News Alerts

17 Oct 2020 | 04:13 PM UTC

Thailand: Anti-government protesters gather across central Bangkok October 17 /update 2

Thailand News Alert

Anti-government protesters gather across central Bangkok on October 17; further unrest possible

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/17/2020, 12:00 AM until 10/19/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Bangkok). COUNTRY/REGION Bangkok

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Anti-government protesters gathered across central Bangkok on Saturday, October 17, for the fourth consecutive day despite an emergency decree banning demonstrations. The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) issued a tweet at 15:08 (local time) calling protesters to gather at the Lat Phrao transit interchange, Udom Suk BTS station or the Wongwian Yai roundabout all of which drew participation in the thousands. The demonstrators at Lat Phrao marched to the Bang Na intersection via Udom Suk to accommodate their numbers. Smaller gatherings were also reported at Samyan Mitrtown, Rama IV Road, and Asok BTS station. The UFTD also called for rallies to occur in 17 provinces across Thailand. Prior to the protests, all stations of the BTS Skytrain system were closed in addition to the MRT Blue Line and the Purple Line. Police also ordered all stations on the Airport Rail Link line to be closed.

Further demonstrations and associated disruptions are possible in the near term. A heightened security presence should be expected in the vicinity of protests. Clashes between security forces and protesters are also likely.


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.

Thailand's cabinet approved a 30-day state of emergency in Bangkok on Friday, October 16, following the emergency decree announced on Thursday, October 15, due to large-scale demonstrations denouncing the government, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and calling for reforms to the monarchy. Emergency measures ban gatherings of more than five people within the city and prohibit the publication of news or dissemination of online messages which could "create fear". The Prime Minister has warned that a nightly curfew may be introduced if unrest continues. On Friday, October 16, police used water cannon to disperse thousands of protesters who had gathered in the Pathumwan area in defiance of the decree.


Those in Bangkok are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid protests or demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.


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