Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters take to the streets in Thailand, defying a crackdown for a fourth day

Hundreds of Thai anti-government protesters demonstrated in Bangkok on Sunday, again defying a ban on protests against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and the powerful monarchy.

Demonstrations have persisted despite the arrest of dozens of protesters and their leaders, the use of water cannon and shutdowns on much of Bangkok’s metro rail system in a bid to quell over three months of street action.

Protesters moved quickly from point to point, posting different sites for possible demonstrations on social media.

“We will stay until it’s over or move to another location with other activists,” said Dee, 25, one of several dozen protesters at Asok, one of the busiest interchanges in Bangkok.

Pro-democracy protesters sit outside the Asok BTS skytrain station after it was closed ahead of a possible anti-government rally in Bangkok on 18 October.

Pro-democracy protesters sit outside the Asok BTS skytrain station after it was closed ahead of a possible anti-government rally in Bangkok on 18 October.

AFP

Hundreds gathered at the Victory Monument, nearly five kilometres away by road.

A few police gathered on the other side of the interchange at Asok but did not immediately intervene.

“We are committed to maintain peace and order. In order to do so we are bound by laws, international standards, human rights,” police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen told a news conference.

Protesters demand the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former military ruler. They have also become openly critical of King Maha Vajiralongkorn despite lese majeste laws that can mean 15 years in jail for insulting the monarchy.

The Royal Palace has made no comment on the protests but the king has said Thailand needed people who love the country and the monarchy.

On Thursday, the government banned all political gatherings of five or more people. 

During demonstrations by tens of thousands of people at multiple points across Bangkok on Saturday, protesters painted a flag on the road with “Republic of Thailand” written across it. The writing was painted out overnight.

Across Thailand, demonstrations were being organised in at least 19 other provinces in solidarity on Sunday. Solidarity protests were also being held or planned in Taiwan, Denmark, Sweden, France, the United States and Canada.

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