Thailand protesters run against ‘dictatorship’ in Bangkok

About 10,000 people registered to join the run dubbed as ‘Run Against Dictatorship’ in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 12 January 2020

Thailand protesters run against ‘dictatorship’ in Bangkok

  • Organizers said 10,000 people registered to join the run, the biggest political demonstration in years
  • The trigger for Sunday’s rally were moves by courts to dissolve a popular, new progressive political party

BANGKOK: Thousands of anti-government protesters took part in the “Run Against Dictatorship” in the Thai capital Sunday in the biggest political demonstration in years.
Organizers said 10,000 people registered to join the run, which included slogans demanding Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader behind a 2014 coup, stand down.
In a sign of rising political tensions, government supporters held their own event in a downtown park.
Last year’s general election was meant to restore full democracy, five years after the military staged the coup. But the poll rules were widely seen as favoring the pro-military party.
The government’s sluggish economic performance has added to a growing sense of discontent.
“Everything’s worse,” one participant, an office worker who gave his name only as Sakdinan, said through a face mask. “The economy is worse and people are facing difficulties including freedom of expression.”
The trigger for Sunday’s rally were moves by courts to dissolve a popular, new progressive political party.
The Future Forward Party came from nowhere to become the third largest group in parliament with 80 seats. Their anti-military agenda made many younger Thais flock to their banner in a challenge to the deeply conservative ruling elite.
The party’s rise in popularity has been met with legal cases, through the Election Commission and the Constitutional Court, for a number of alleged breaches of the law. Many now assume the party will be found guilty and dissolved, possibly even this month.
The party’s charismatic leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has emerged as the galvanizing figure behind the growing protests.
On Sunday, the billionaire businessman-turned-politician said he was delighted by the numbers who came to show their support.
“The people show great awareness of the political situation,” he said, in between posing for selfies with excited supporters.
“I believe that in order for Thailand to be able to be a democratic country again, the first step is that General Prayuth has to get out and the people here today I think we share that feeling. This is the demonstration of the anger of the people.”
Similar runs were organized in other provinces Sunday, leaving many to wonder whether Thailand is heading for another prolonged bout of street politics. Rival camps have occupied parts of Bangkok, and sometimes fought running battles, several times over the last 14 years. The unrest has triggered two coups and led to more than a hundred deaths.


Kremlin says it hopes to resolve differences on nuclear arms control pact with Washington

Updated 21 October 2020

Kremlin says it hopes to resolve differences on nuclear arms control pact with Washington

  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia hoped to continue dialogue with Washington on extending the new START treaty

MOSCOW: Russia said on Wednesday it hoped to resolve its differences with the United States over a nuclear arms control treaty that expires in February next year.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia hoped to continue dialogue with Washington on extending the new START treaty. He was speaking a day after the United States welcomed a proposal by Moscow to prolong it by a year if both sides agreed to freeze their stocks of all nuclear warheads for that period.
Signed in 2010, the last US-Russia pact of its kind limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers each country can deploy.