Protests associated with anti-government demonstrations being held at Bangkok's Victory Monument and Asok intersection were held across Thailand on Sunday, October 18, as recent violent dispersals of gatherings appear to have energized the protest movement. Affiliated demonstrations were held in at least 20 locations across 12 other provinces, as well as in other parts of the capital. Major rallies were reported at the following locations:
- In Rangsit (Pathum Thani province) outside the Future Park shopping center
- In Bang Yai district (Nonthaburi province) outside the Central Plaza WestGate
- At the Rajamangala University of Technology Isan (Nakhon Ratchasima province)
- In Khon Kaen (Khon Kaen province) outside Khon Kaen Witthayon school and at the Khon Kaen University campus
- At Chang Mai University (Chang Mai province)
The protests are all reported to have largely passed off peacefully. Further associated demonstrations are expected to take place across Thailand over the near term and will likely be accompanied by a heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transport.
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. Prior to protests within the city on Saturday, October 17, the entire BTS Skytrain system and the MRT Blue and Purple Lines of Bangkok's mass transit system were closed.
Those in Thailand 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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