Pro-democracy and royalist activists have announced plans to hold rival demonstrations in Bangkok on Saturday, November 14, in support of and in opposition to democratic reforms. Royalist groups are scheduled to gather at the Sanam Chai BTS Station from 17:00 (local time) on Saturday for an opening ceremony where the Thai King is expected to be in attendance. Meanwhile, pro-democracy groups have also announced their intention to stage a march from the Ministry of Education to the Democracy Monument on Saturday to denounce the current government's alleged non-democratic policies and demand political reforms, including the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Both rallies are likely to be well-attended. A heightened security presence should be anticipated in the vicinity of the Sanam Chai BTS Station and along the march route. Counter-demonstrations are possible at both events. Localized disruptions to business and transport are also likely.
Public opposition has grown against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha 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 October 16, following the emergency decree announced on October 15, due to large-scale demonstrations. Emergency measures banned gatherings of more than five people within the city and prohibited the publication of news or dissemination of online messages which could "create fear". However, the state of emergency in Bangkok was revoked as the Prime Minister on October 22 amid attempts to de-escalate the situation, stating that he would lift the state of emergency in exchange for the protests remaining peaceful. A number of anti-government protesters who had been detained were also released on bail.
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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