Thai protesters mass again despite violence

BANGKOK: Thousands of Thai protesters took to the streets of Bangkok on Wednesday despite the worst violence in months of demonstrations the day before, when police fired water cannon and tear gas and at least 55 people were hurt.

Youth-led protests since July have become the biggest challenge to the establishment in years with their demands for the ousting of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a new constitution and reforms to curb the monarchy’s powers.

“We will resist peacefully,” Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul told the protest in central Bangkok. “The use of force on people and youths is not acceptable.”

In parliament, where lawmakers voted on seven options for ways to change the constitution, a proposal that would have opened the way for discussion of the monarchy’s role failed to win enough votes for approval.

Two proposals were adopted that would allow for discussion of constitutional change without affecting the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

“We will not touch on that,” said Wirat Ratanaset, from the ruling coalition.

The vote was not a surprise. Prayuth’s supporters have a majority in the parliament, where the entire upper house Senate was appointed by the junta he led after a 2014 coup until a disputed election last year. - Reuters