Hundreds of pro-democracy activists demonstrated on Sunday (November 29) in Bangkok, Thailand, outside a barracks of a Royal Guard unit.
The demonstrators notably brandished large inflatable yellow ducks, symbols of their movement which seeks to limit the powers of the monarchy. The inflatable yellow swimming pool duck symbolizes, for the demonstrators, the military who they believe are passing over the people to dominate political life in Thailand.
The leaders of the movement have advocated peaceful action since the recent use of tear gas and water cannons by the security forces.
Sunday’s protest, the latest in a series of almost daily mobilisations in Bangkok, targeted the 11e infantry regiment. This unit, together with the 1er infantry regiment, was placed under the direct control of King Maha Vajiralongkorn last year, a move seen as a way for the monarch to further assert his authority.
“These two regiments have been involved in the repression of the population in the past, explains one of the main leaders of the movement, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak. They also played a central role in the coups. “
“The role of the army is to protect the people”
The entrances and walls of the barracks had been covered with barbed wire, and police officers, in riot gear, were on guard outside.
“The military should serve us taxpayers, not the monarchy, 30-year-old student Farng says. Their role is to protect the people. “
The military has long positioned itself as a defender of the very wealthy Thai royal family, whose assets are estimated at around $ 30 billion to $ 60 billion (€ 25 billion to € 50 billion). In the name of the protection of the king, the army has organized more than ten coups d’état since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. The most recent dates from 2014.
The protesters demand the resignation of the prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a rewrite of the Constitution, considered too favorable to the army, as well as a reform of the royalty.