Starting tomorrow, Thai Police set to deploy thousands to stop rioters

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida greet royalists during the inauguration of a new subway station at the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand

On Wednesday, Thai police will deploy nearly 6,000 officers for a protest at the office that manages the royal fortune by demonstrators demanding that King Maha Vajiralongkorn give up personal charge of the assets.

On Tuesday, police said that no protesters would be allowed within 150 metres (450 feet) of the Crown Property Bureau. At the same venue, royalists have also said they plan to gather in defense of a monarchy that faces its biggest hurdle in decades.

Piya Tavichai, the deputy head of Bangkok police, said the two groups would be kept separate.

“Depending on how protesters behave, we will take appropriate measures,” he confirmed a news conference.

More than 50 people were gravely hurt last week when police used teargas and water cannon against thousands of protesters at parliament in the most rampageous day of more than four months of demonstrations.

Protesters seek the dismissal of former junta leader and now Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha and want a new constitution, but have also broken taboos by demanding reforms to curb the king’s powers.

Among protesters’ demands is the repeal of changes that gave the king personal control over a royal fortune valued in the tens of billions of dollars.

The FreeYouth protest group said in a Twitter post that they would demonstrate on Wednesday to “reclaim the property meant to belong to the people”.

The Royal Palace has not commented since the protests began, although the king said the protesters were loved “all the same” when asked for comment on the demonstrations.

Prayuth has denied protesters’ calls to quit and said last week that all laws would be used against protesters who break them – raising concerns among activists that this includes royal insult laws, which have not been used since 2018.

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