BANGKOK: Thai anti-government demonstrators called for an end to coups on Friday as months of street demonstrations are stirring reports of another military takeover.
The protesters are calling for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader who took power in the last coup in 2014, to resign. However, they say they don’t want him to be replaced by another general.
Organisers called the “Rehearsal to Oppose a Coup” rally on Friday. Hundreds of people have engaged in what has been the most recent of nearly regular Thai street demonstrations since mid-July.
Since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Prayuth’s putsch was the 13th successful coup.
After an election last year, he held on as prime minister and demonstrators say the ballot was arranged to hold him in power with a constitution drawn up by his former government that gave the entire upper house of parliament to junta appointees.
Prayuth claims that the vote was fair
I’m just 18, so I’ve already seen two coups. That’s not right,’ said Tan, a high school student who gave only one name at the protest. “We don’t want to repeat history itself.”
This week, both Prayuth and the army chief of Thailand, General Narongpan Jittkaewtae, discounted the idea of another coup being imminent. However, that only intensified the speculation that one could be on the cards.
Protesters also accuse the monarchy of allowing military supremacy for decades and have requested curbs on King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s powers. It includes his authority to sanction any potential coups.
“The Royal Palace did not comment on the demonstrators, although the king recently said they were loved “all the same.
At least seven of the most popular protest leaders face charges of undermining the monarchy for remarks they have made at various demonstrations. It could bring prison sentences of up to 15 years.
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