Asia Minute: Thai Capital Braces for More Protests

Nov 24, 2020

The next potential point of conflict for protestors and government security forces in Thailand may be coming tomorrow. Activists have scheduled a demonstration near the headquarters of the organization that manages property belonging to the country’s monarchy. And police are already issuing warnings.

Security forces have already put up barbed wire on the grounds of the Crown Property Bureau in Bangkok, which protestors have targeted as the next rallying point for anti-government demonstrations.

It’s technically not a government agency, but it manages many of the assets of Thailand’s royal family — including real estate — and that’s made it a focus for those who want to reform the monarchy.

The Bangkok Post reports police are concerned there may be a clash in the area between those calling for reform and royalists who support the current system.

Last week saw the most street violence since these anti-government protests began — some of which involved scuffles between those two groups.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says if Wednesday’s confrontation turns violent, legal action will be taken against both sides.

Last week, other clashes came when demonstrators tried to get to the parliament building, and police responded with water cannon and tear gas. The BBC reports more than 40 people were injured.

Lawmakers inside were talking about potential changes to the constitution — one of the three main demands of activists. The others include the resignation of the current government and reforms to Thailand’s monarchy.

So far, there appears to be little momentum from lawmakers to support the main proposals — though a parliamentary committee is meeting to re-write some parts of the constitution that do not involve the monarchy.