In a bold display of discontent, anti-monarchy protesters took to the streets yesterday shouting “not my king” and demanding change from the ruling government. The protesters, numbering in the thousands, marched through the city center carrying banners and chanting slogans against the monarchy.
The demonstration was organized by a coalition of activist groups, who are calling for greater democracy and an end to what they see as the monarchy’s unaccountable power. “We are here to demand change, to demand a government that listens to the people, not just to the king,” said one protester, who declined to give her name.
The rally was peaceful for the most part, but tensions rose when police attempted to block the protesters from reaching the royal palace. Protesters responded by throwing objects and chanting slogans against the police, who eventually dispersed the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.
The anti-monarchy movement has been growing in recent years, fueled in part by social media and a younger generation of activists who are increasingly critical of the monarchy’s role in Thai politics. Many see the monarchy as an obstacle to progress and view the current king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, as a symbol of the country’s deeply entrenched inequalities.
The government has largely ignored the protesters’ demands, dismissing them as the work of a small minority of troublemakers. However, the protest movement shows no signs of slowing down, and analysts warn that the government may need to take concrete steps towards reform if it hopes to quell the growing unrest.