Thai pro-democracy demonstrators demand army to withdraw supporting ruling junta

Vastavam web: More than 300 Thai pro-democracy demonstrators marched to the gates of the army headquarters in Bangkok on Saturday to call on soldiers to withdraw their support for the ruling junta.It was one of the biggest in a new wave of protests against corruption and the government’s failure to keep to a promised election timetable.

“We want a peaceful transition,” Rangsiman Rome, one of the protest leaders, told Reuters. “It’s time for the army and all of Thai society to stop supporting the junta and side with the people.”Unarmed police tried to block the protesters from the street leading to the army headquarters, but gave way and allowed them through. Demonstrators burned incense at the ornate gates and set up a sound system to amplify their message.“Those of you who are at home, join us … until we can win this war, until we get what we want,” said student activist Sirawith Seritiwat, also known as Ja New.

Protesters have also been angered by corruption scandals, particularly an investigation into the luxury watch collection of Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy prime minister and defence minister. Last month, a public petition demanded he quit.“There is too much corruption. We need democracy back now,” said Mike Pisek, 70, a former Thai marine.

Many of the protesters were in their 60s or 70s, even if the leaders were students.The government has allowed recent protests to take place, but many of the leaders face charges for public order offenses.