Hundreds protest in Thailand outside parliament after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha survives vote

WION Web Team
Bangkok, Thailand Published: Feb 20, 2021, 05:29 PM(IST)

A pro-democracy protester holds a sign during an anti-government rally in Bangkok Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Prayuth was accused of misusing his position and power as the Prime Minister to promote police officials and establishing cyber cells to silence all anti-government voices

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Thailand's parliament after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and nine ministers survived a parliamentary no-confidence motion on Saturday after a four-day censure debate.

Prayuth was accused of misusing his position and power as the Prime Minister to promote police officials and establishing cyber cells to silence all anti-government voices.

He has also been accused by the locals and opposition for using monarchy as a shield against criticism regarding democracy and government and deepening the societal differences in the country.

Opposition lawmakers have taken aim at what they say is a slow government roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine and at its economic policies, vowing to continue investigating.

"We've opened a wound and now will pour salt on it," Pita Limjaroenrat, head of the Move Forward Party told reporters after the vote.

Prayuth, a former chief of the armed forces, overthrew an elected prime minister in 2014 and stayed in office after a 2019 election that his rivals said was badly flawed.

The government has said the elections were free and fair.

Prayuth was expected to survive Saturday's vote due to his coalition government's majority in the lower house.

"The debate went well, but the government must continue its work," Prayuth said in a podcast after the vote. "I would like to ask all Thais to work together to bring the country forward."

The no-confidence motion came as pro-democracy protests returned after a lull brought on by a second outbreak of COVID-19.

"Some 4,000 officers have been prepared," police deputy spokesman Kissana Pattanacharoen said, adding that the rallies were violating an emergency decree to control the coronavirus outbreak. "Police duty is to maintain order," he said when asked if there would be use of force.

Earlier this month, protesters demanding the release of activists scuffled with police.

Youth-led protests last year reached hundreds of thousands, occupying major commercial intersections in Bangkok and spreading to university campuses across the country.

"It's a critical moment in Thailand. We cannot wait, we don't want people to think this is just on Twitter or Facebook," 20-year-old student Ngamluk Montim told Reuters. "We are coming out to raise our voice. This is just the start."

Read in App