Thailand Protesters Defy Military

Thailand Protesters Defy MilitaryThailand Protesters Defy Military

An estimated 200 protestors rallied peacefully in the Thai capital on Saturday evening local time, in defiance of the military’s ban on political gatherings.

Police kept watch but did not intervene as the group marched to the city’s Democracy Monument, waved anti-military banners and shouted slogans.

The gathering, organized by the New Democracy Movement, marked nine years since the 2006 coup which pushed out then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and sparked nearly a decade of political upheaval, broadly pitting his rural and working class supporters against the Bangkok-centered middle class and royalist elite, underpinned by large parts of the military, DW reported.

“We’re here to remind people what happens if we are patient and do nothing. Here we are again under a new coup,” 22-year-old economics student Ratthapol Supasopon said, explaining why the group was marking the 2006 anniversary.

Meanwhile, a pro-Thaksin leader in Thailand’s northeastern Udon Thani province told Reuters the former prime minister–who is in self-imposed exile–had urged his followers to lay low for now.

“When I spoke to Thaksin, he told me to pretend to be dead a little longer,” red shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana said, without specifying how he communicated with the influential figure.

“He told me to … wait until the next election. That will be the moment that we will win. The only question is whether an election will ever take place.”