© Bloomberg. Protesters march towards Government House and the Prime Minister’s offices during a rally in Bangkok on October 14.
(Bloomberg) – Thailand declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok after tens of thousands of anti-government protesters surrounded the prime minister’s office to demand more democracy and less power for the monarchy.
The declaration, which bans gatherings of five or more people and allows for the arrest of anyone who breaks the rules, is effective immediately, according to a notice in the Royal Gazette.
Thousands of protesters, most of them led by students, marched through Government House, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s office, on Wednesday in the latest in a series of anti-government protests that began in early July.
Protesters call for the resignation of Prayuth, a former army chief who staged a coup in 2014, and a rewrite of the constitution drafted by an army-appointed panel who helped him stay in the following elections last year. They also want checks on the monarchy, such as banning the king from approving any coup and revoking laws that criminalize insults against King Maha Vajiralongkorn and key members of the royal family.
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