05/22/2018, 17.05
THAILAND
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Pro-democracy protest halted as military junta marks four years in power

Some 500 people gathered this morning at Thammasat University for a peaceful march. However, the security forces erected some barriers to prevent them from leaving the campus. Government House and surrounding streets have been declared a no-go zone.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Police blocked hundreds of people protesting in the Thai capital to prevent them from marching to Government House to demand that the military government hold a general election by November.

About 500 demonstrators gathered at Thammasat University for the peaceful march, standing in a line behind a truck with loudspeakers as police looked on.

As soon as they moved, protesters found themselves stuck at a police barricade in front of the university, blocked from leaving the campus.

Police declared Government House and surrounding streets a no-go zone for protests organise to mark four years since the coup that toppled the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra on 22 May 2014.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who as army chief overthrew Shinawatra administration, has suggested elections would be held only in February next year.

More than an hour after the protest began, both sides remained locked in a stand-off, with police using a sound truck to order the demonstrators to disperse.

A minor scuffle broke out when some protesters briefly pushed the police line, but the tensions were soothed after rain fell, prompting protesters to take cover under umbrellas.

In recent months, dissatisfaction with the authorities has grown despite a ban on political rallies imposed after the coup.

The road to the restauration of democracy has suffered repeated setbacks, and people are running out of patience with the junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), including some former supporters of Prayut.

The government has repeatedly put off the general election, which in principle was supposed to take place in 2015.

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