Thai protesters got creative in their latest protest against their latest protest against the government, in Bangkok on Friday 3 September. There were street music performances, a vast poster on which people could write slogans, mock corpses to represent Covid dead that the protesters blame on the government, and a large picture of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha which protesters covered with fake blood. The PM came to power through a military coup in 2014 and has held onto it partly by banning opposition parties and politicians who represent an electoral threat. The demonstration blocked roads outside outside the Central World shopping mall in the centre of the Thai capital. Organisers said a series of demonstrations would take place across the city every evening ‘until the prime minister resigns’. Leader Sombat Boonngam-anong said: ‘We will rally from September 2 onwards until Prayut resigns.’ Thailand’s protest movement erupted last year and stopped briefly at the height of the pandemic fear but has started again in recent weeks. Organisers claim they are demanding democracy but demonstrations have regularly descended into violence, vandalism and chaos. Government officials say the unrest is being funded by disaffected opposition, exiled politicians and extremist groups who encourage students to join the protests. They have cited evidence that social media bots are being used to provoke civil disobedience among impressionable youth – who could then face years in prison for getting involved with the anti-establishment rallies. Officials have banned gatherings of more than five people and rolled out a 9pm curfew due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the laws have been ignored by the demonstrators.
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