Thousands defy ban to protest in Bangkok

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BANGKOK (Oct 18): Thousands of people gathered in Bangkok rallying for the forth consecutive day defying a ban to join pro-democracy protests and reiterating their demands for political change including for the prime minister to step down. 

The protesters, gathered at the Victory Monument and in Asoke today, also called for the dissolution of Parliament, rewriting of the constitution, and reforms to the monarchy. 

Despite an emergency decree ban in Bangkok for political gathering of more than five people, thousands gathered at Victory Monument and Asoke starting from 4pm (local time) today. 

Bad weather and suspension of public transport was unable to stop thousands of people clad in raincoat and umbrella from joining the protests today. 

Besides the two primary protest sites, other places where protesters gathered were at Bang Na, Imperial Samrong at Samut Prakan, Central Plaza WestGate at Nonthaburi. 

Despite the authorities temporarily shutting down most Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) and Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain stations from 2.30pm today, thousands turned up for today’s protest.

The protests being held nationwide was led by a youth-led movement.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha declared ‘Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok’ to ban gatherings of five or more people, put into effect at 4am (local time) in a bid to end three months of student-led street protests.

Besides that, it also prohibits publication of news and other online messages that could affect national security and create fear or disseminate false information. 

Meanwhile, police said selfies at the protests could be used as evidence to prosecute protesters for violating the emergency decree banning political gathering.