Thai Protesters Break Through University Gates to Begin Anti-Government Demonstration

September 19, 2020 05:06 PM
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Protesters broke into Thammasat University as they began rallying in Bangkok, Saturday, September 19, for what organizers hope will be the biggest demonstration in years to demand the removal of former junta leader and now military-backed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a new constitution and elections. 

Some Thai protest leaders have also demanded reforms to curb the power of King Maha Vajiralongkorn's monarchy and have vowed to keep up those calls despite official pressure to stop. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered under a light drizzle on Saturday around the campus of Thammasat University, long seen as a hotbed of opposition to the military and royalist establishment. 

Protesters were pushing and shoving the university gates after minutes of negotiation between student protesters and a university official, before they broke through the gate and marched in. 

Demonstrations have built since mid-July. The biggest so far drew 10,000 in Bangkok last month, but Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak, one of the protest leaders, told Reuters, he believed as many as 100,000 people could show up. Police said they expected up to 50,000 to join the protest.