ONE of three demonstration groups in Bangkok this evening (Oct. 21) marched from Victory Monument to Government House where they submitted a letter calling on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign within three days while the Prime Minister said over television pool that both sides should take a step back and let these issues go to Parliament for deliberation, Thai Rath newspaper, reported
At Chamai Maruchet bridge representatives of the protesters submitted a letter to Pol. Lt. Gen. Phukphong Phongpetra, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, who was accompanied by Government House officials asking Gen. Prayut to resign and stop the prosecution of their friends and other members of the general public.
They added that if he did not do so he would run into the People’s Party again.
The protesters had started marching from Victory Monument to Government House at 5.30 p.m. and succeeded in getting through the barbed wire barrier police had set up at Uruphong intersection on Petchaburi road at around 7.30 p.m.
Reporters at Government House said by 8 p.m. police had moved in high-pressure water vehicles there.
At Makkhawan Bridge another unit of policemen was added holding shields horizontally while at another nearby intersection military crowd control troops had also set up a barrier with galvanized metal sheets.
At Uruphong intersection Dr. Thosaporn Serirak, former spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office in the government of Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, entered into negotiations with the police asking them to open the way for the protesters to get through but they said they could not do so.
At 7:29 p.m. protesters started removing the barbed wires and five minutes later police in the back line started retreating.
Meanwhile the large group of demonstrators in front of The Mall Bangkapi ended their rally at 8 p.m. after giving the three-finger salute.
They had taken turns to give speeches attacking the government of Prime Minister Prayut.
At the third protest site, Ramkhamhaeng University, there was a small clash between the royalists and the protesters before police stepped in and separated the two groups.
The Prime Minister said he is preparing to cancel the serious emergency in Bangkok area soon, with the exception being if there is a dire situation necessitating its imposition.
He likewise asked the protesters to show the sincerity of their good intentions towards the country by respecting the law and parliamentary democracy.
He added that as he has taken a step back, they should also do the same thing by reducing speeches that create divisions and hatred in society.
In a related development, the Criminal Court approved the pre-detention of two protest leaders, Ms. Panusaya Sitthichirawattanakul, or Rung, leader of Thammasat Alliance and Rally, and Mr. Parit Chivarak, or Penguin, a Thammasat University student and leader of the Free Youth group, for seven days over charges stemming from installing a copy of the Khana Rasadorn plaque at Sanam Luang on September 19, TV Channel 7 reported.
The two defendants submitted a request for temporary release from detention from today till October 27, 2020 with academics submitting their positions as security but the court refused to grant this fearing that if they were freed they would go back to creating chaos in the country.
Top: The protesters at Uruphong intersection and near Government House this evening. Photos: Thai Rath