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Pro-democracy protesters display their mobile phones with flashlights on as the sun sets in Bangkok, Thailand. A gathering of pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug, 16, 2020 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

Why Thailand’s Protesters Are Up in Arms Against the Monarchy

, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020

Thai students and other activists have staged a series of escalating pro-democracy protests in recent months, drawing some of the biggest crowds since the country’s last coup in 2014. Their demands initially focused on constitutional reforms and new elections, after last year’s vote was widely seen as skewed toward a party aligned with the military. The demonstrators also called for an impartial investigation into the apparent abductions and murders of anti-government activists living abroad. Several Thai dissidents who had been living in Laos disappeared last year, while the bodies of others were found in the Mekong River, disemboweled and filled with concrete.

But as the recent uprising has grown in size and spread across the country, reaching educational institutions and other locales in smaller towns far away from Bangkok, the protesters have increasingly taken aim at the third rail of Thai politics: the monarchy. ...

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