Thai pro-democracy protesters scale Bangkok monument

Bangkok: Thai pro-democracy protesters scaled a Bangkok monument Saturday night to unfurl a giant banner scribbled with anti-government slogans and calls to reform the monarchy.

The kingdom has for months seen massive student-led demonstrations calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha who rose to power in a 2014 coup as well as a new constitution and changes to how the royal family operates.

A crowd of several thousand turned out for a carnival-themed rally dubbed "Mob Fest" at the Democracy Monument, a major intersection in Bangkok.

In the afternoon, high school students and other pro-democracy demonstrators wrote in marker pens and spray-painted messages on giant white sheets.

"You have been stealing my bright future," one message said. "Democracy will win."

Bangkok graphic designer Pearl, 25, watched as a group of protesters used ladders to climb up the three-metre (nine-foot) high central turret of the Democracy Monument, as musicians played a drum beat.

"This is a symbolic act of free speech," she told AFP.

Protesters sang a Thai version of Les Miserables "Do You Hear the People Sing?" and the crowd raised their hands in three-finger salutes -- a pop culture reference to the "Hunger Games" movies. - AFP ength_with_data_red