Prayut says he will escalate security response to ongoing protests

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Thursday that the government were preparin to escalate their response to ongoing pro-democracy protests.

Anti-government, pro-democracy protests have erupted throughout the country for the past five months with demonstrators calling for the resignation of Prayut, a redrafting of the constitution and reform of the royal institution.

The protests and the government’s response has split the country and led to clashes between royalist demonstrators and the student-led protests. Police have also used water cannons, tear gas, and batons to crackdown on the student demonstrators.

On Thursday, Prayut said the government has exhausted many avenues in “trying to find a peaceful solution.”

The statement, released by the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the situation showed no signs of de-escalation “even though the government has been….earnest in trying to find a solution.”

Prayut said in order to ensure peace and protected “revered institutions” the government will “enhance” their response including enforcing all laws.

The government has so far arrested over 40 dissidents including musicians and artists who have led or inspired the student protests and charged them with sedition.

The government so far has not used section 112 of the Thai criminal code, also known as the lese majeste law. Section 112 prohibits the insult of the monarch and his family and carries a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

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