Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters massed close to Thailand’s Grand Palace on Saturday, in a huge rally calling for PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha to step down and demanding reforms to the monarchy.
The kingdom has seen near-daily gatherings of youth-led groups since mid-July calling for the resignation of Prayut, the former army chief behind the 2014 coup, and a complete overhaul of his administration.
Some are also demanding reforms to Thailand’s ultra-wealthy and powerful monarchy — a once-taboo topic in the country due to its tough royal defamation laws.
The burgeoning movement, partly inspired by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, remains largely leaderless.
But this weekend’s demonstration was organised by students of Bangkok’s Thammasat University — a group that has been among the most vocal about the royal family’s role in Thailand.
Human rights lawyer Anon Numpa, who has emerged as one of the key figures in the movement, took a stronger line on monarchical reform in a fiery speech late Saturday night.
“My knee will never kneel for dictatorship,” he shouted,