Emergency in Thailand amid huge protests

Bangkok, October 15

Thailand declared a new state of emergency for the capital on Thursday, a day after a student-led protest against the country’s traditional establishment saw an extraordinary moment in which demonstrators heckled a royal motorcade.

After the pre-dawn declaration, riot police moved in to clear out demonstrators who after a day of rallies and confrontation had gathered outside Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s office to push their demands, which include the former general’s stepping down, constitutional changes and reform of the monarchy.

Several top leaders of the protest movement were taken into custody. The police said they had made 22 arrests.

The text of the emergency declaration said it was needed because “certain groups of perpetrators intended to instigate an untoward incident and movement in the Bangkok area by way of various methods and via different channels, including causing obstruction to the royal motorcade.”

The royal family is considered sacrosanct and a pillar of Thai identity. — AP

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