Thai people protest against government in biggest rally in years

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At least eighteen thousand demonstrators gathered in Bangkok on Saturday for a protest against the conservative Thai government. It is the largest anti-government protest in years.

The crowd is protesting against the power of General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has become prime minister since 2014 after a military coup.

The protests, which also focus on the power of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, have been going on for months but have never been this big. According to organizers, it concerns fifty thousand attendees, the police say it is more likely to be “at least eighteen thousand”.

The king is not very present in Thailand and spends a lot of time in Europe, especially in his villa in Germany. He was crowned last year after 2.5 years of mourning for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, his father. Vajiralongkorn is much less popular.

For example, he consolidated the authority of the monarchy by, among other things, changing the constitution. He has also appointed five million Thai to a new volunteer corps, which perform social services such as cleaning the public space.

It is special that the Thai people are protesting, because criticism of the royal family can lead to fifteen years in prison.

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