Right-wing ultra-royalist groups are planning counter demonstrations on October 14 to confront anti-government student protests sparking fear of a violent confrontation between the two groups.
Anti-government protests have taken place throughout the country for the past three months with student protesters calling for the removal of the Prayut Chan-ocha government and a rewriting of the military-drafted constitution. A major rally is planned on October 14 at Democracy Monument, with rallygoers planning to march onto government house to press their demands.
The protesters have previously called into question the role of Thailand’s once-sacred monarchy in politics and have called for reform of the royal institution.
Ultra-royalist groups have said that such demands are out of place and that the monarchy holds a cherished and sacred place in Thai society and that the students were overstepping their bounds.
These groups are planning on holding counter rallies on Wednesday.
One group, led by ultra-royalist doctor Riangtong Naena, is gathering a few hundred meters from the student protests in front of the Statue of King Rama V sparking fears that the two groups could eventually clash. The group calls itself the trash collectors and have compared the live to the students as the nation’s garbage.
Another group, led by the conservative right-wing monk Buddha Issara, is calling for a royalist rally in front of the Royal Plaza within the same area. The monk said that loyal Thais must show up to defend the monarchy.
Both police and clergy have been complicit in the killing of students in the past most notably during the October 6 rally in 1976. (Read more here)
Police say they have brought in hundred of security officials to prevent possible clashes and to make sure that all sides abide by the law.